Verbatim is no longer publishing. However, this is a fan site dedicated to the legacy of Verbatim. Please enjoy the archives we were able to find and share with you all!

What’s Verbatim? Verbatim is a magazine devoted to what is amusing, interesting, and engaging about the English language and languages in general. We strive to bring fascinating topics out of the dusty obscurity of dry linguistic scholarship and polish them up for the general reader with an intelligent interest in language. We gently poke fun at the messes people can get into with English and the misunderstandings that arise from our common language. All this, plus a generous helping of book reviews, should provide an hour or two’s diversion for the person interested in language.

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VERBATIM Articles, Book Reviews, News

From A Dictionary of Interesting Collisions

Abasement Flat: Digs hard-up tenants lower themselves by renting. About-facetiousness: earnestness; the reverse of frivolity. About-preface: Epilogue or afterword; an antonym for introduction. Acuwomen: Form of female intuition; shrewdness peculiar to women....

Authors and Articles Vol XXV

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XXV1Cates, David C.Where Did He Put the Pen of My Aunt? Navajo Revealed XXV1May, PeteBritish Football Chants XXV1Murphy, M. LynneExcerpts from the Baylor College Linguistics Scavenger Hunt XXV1Ronnick, Michele ValerieFrom...

Authors and Articles Vol XVIII

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XVIII1Devereux, RobertPunch on the Bungalow Veranda XVIII1Yoo, DalThe World of Abbreviations and Acronyms XVIII1Heinz, John F.fix XVIII2Sharp, DonSpeaking of the Unmentionables XVIII2Swift, BobWrenches in the Gorse and...

Quick Post: Noun Overuse Phenomenon

A subscriber from long ago rediscovered us again today, and asked particularly after one article: Noun Overuse Phenomenon Article, from Vol. 2, No. 4. So there it is -- click on the link to read it. It's a favorite!Please remember that if you are ordering VERBATIM as...

Classical Blather

What is so rare as a day in June? And what is so common asa rhyme for it? Speakers of English through the century seem tohave delighted in the sound of the double o, rotund and warm,gently terminating in the soft glide of the n "as if it wereloath to cease."1 Popular...

Verbal Analogies

Dr. P.A. Pomfret 1. Long, narrow : Leptorrhinian :: Broad, Thick : ? (13) 2. Cival : Papal :: Registrar : ? (12) 3. Iron : Black :: Tin : ? (5) 4. Books : Bibliotheca :: Sculpture : ? (11) 5. Gristle : Cartilage :: Grounds of a House : ? (9) 6. Cold vegetable dish :...

Welcoming Mark Peters

We're happy to announce that Mark Peters has joined VERBATIM as a Contributing Editor. Mark is a frequent contributor to VERBATIM, and a language columnist for the parenting website Babble, as well as writing for American Speech, The Chronicle of Higher Education,...

Pairing Pairs

I got a call this morning from someone who had picked up the VERBATIM book and needed one of the answers in Larry Urdang's Pairing Pairs explained. Which I did (possibly even to his satisfaction) ... but that motivated me to put up a link to Pairing Pairs here on the...

You’ve Got Game!

It's almost time for holiday shopping, so we've collated SIX YEARS of Gloria Rosenthal's "You've Got Game" game reviews here in one humongous blog post for you! Here are all the games she's reviewed -- have...

New Blood in the Namestream

John Tittensor Goudargues, France The most respected mechanic in the village of St. Martin d’Ardèche, not far from where I live, is called Monsieur Salaud. And in another nearby village the job of mayor is held down by the amiable Madame Bordel. Perfectly...

Letter Writing Made Easy!

Letter Writing Made Easy! Featuring sample letters for hundreds of common occasions! Letter Writing Made Easy! Vol. 2: Featuring more sample letters for hundreds of common occasions! Both by Margaret McCarthy, 206 pp., Santa Monica, Santa Monica Press, 1998. ISBN...

Authors and Articles Vol XVI

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XVI1Baron, DennisWord Law XVI1Lederer, RichardThe Strange Case of Doctor Rotcod XVI1Greenwood, DouglasAnother Grammatical Game: The Foregone Conclusion XVI1Cannon, GarlandWord Droppings XVI1Rasmussen, Robert R.Knowing the...

Back Issue – Verbatim

Reading the Traces of James Murray in the Oxford English Dictionary - Finding and enjoying the strong personality of James Murray through his OED definitions. by John Considine Assing Around - The many collocations and meanings of assand arse. by Jessy Randall and...

VERBATIM on the Beach: A Summer Reading List

While neighboring sunbathers tan to the latest religious-conspiracy novel or Washington-insider tell-all, you can relax with one or another great book about language, some of them stranger than fiction or politics. For instance, it's difficult to put down Stefan...

A Quick Fox Jumps over the Cwm Fjord-Bank Glyph Biz

Russell Slocum Reading, Pennsylvania A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog is a popular grammar school writing exercise incorporating all 26 letters of the alphabet in a 33-letter sentence. For those wishing to shorten the lesson, it may also be the seed of an...

Pairing Pairs

The clues are given in items lettered (a-z); the answers are given in numbered items which must be matched with each other to solve the clues. In some cases, a numbered word may be used more than once, but after all matchings have been completed, one numbered word...

Up or Down to You

John Musgrave Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk Robb Wilton, that acclaimed and dearly-loved British comedian of the thirties and forties, introduced one of his best wartime monologues with the classic first lines, "The day war broke out, my wife said to me, 'It's up to you!' I...

Erin McKean

Erin McKean has wanted to be a lexicographer since she was eight years old. After reading an article in the newspaper about the publishing of the supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary, she realized that making dictionaries would be a cool job. (Luckily, she...

Byte Bonding, Bit-bangers, and BLOBS

The mechanisms involved in the processes of word formation have been well documented by linguists; the wit, creativity, imagination and ingenuity displayed by the vernacular is inexhaustible. Magazines and newspapers, songs and screenplays all yield innumerable gems....

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