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.

VERBATIM Online Issues

VERBATIM Articles, Book Reviews, News

Authors and Articles Vol XXII

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XXII1Mohapatra, Ashok K.Politicking with Words: On Ideology and Dictionary Meaning XXII1Emerson, Ralph H.Horse Words in a Motor Age XXII1Egan, GaryChunnel Vision XXII1Howard, Hilary M.No Boys Named Sue, But... XXII1Bowmer,...

SIC! SIC! SIC!

SIC! SIC! SIC! is a regular feature of every issue, in which we rely on readers to send us funny errors made in (thank goodness) other publications. (And those on signs, in form letters, etc., etc. We're capable of finding the funny errors in our own publication...

Favorite Word

Recently, the London Festival of Literature ran a contest to determine the UK's favorite words. Their winners were: 1. Serendipity 2. Quidditch 3. Love 4. Peace/Why (tie) 5. Onomatopoeia 6. Hope 7. Faith 8. Football/Muggle/Hello/Family (tie) 9. Compassion/Home (tie)...

Authors and Articles Vol XV

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XV1Lederer, RichardGunning for the English Language XV1Bria, GeorgeDuende: Gypsy Soul and Something More XV1Bauerle, RichardThe Expanding Lexicon of One-letter Words XV1Davidson, J.A.The Joy of Scottish English: Chambers...

Scottish Proverbs

Scottish Proverbs, Compiled by the Editors of Hippocrene Books, i-xi +111 pp., New York, Hippocrene Books, 1998. ISBN 0-7818-0648-8. $14.95 "A fox always smells his own hole first," my mother, a lady of undiluted Highland Scottish descent, liked to say. As she uttered...

Preposition Pollution

Foreigners trying to learn English often have more trouble with our prepositions than with any other feature. But I see and hear so many awkward uses of prepositions lately that I think we all have more trouble with them than with any other feature--and more trouble...

All about All

In the movie Spartacus,1 the Roman general, Crassus, ensures the cooperation of the slave dealer, Batiatus, by making him the following promise: "I authorize you to be the agent for the sale of all survivors." When Crassus wins the final battle and orders that all...

Darn, Durn, Down, Doon, Damn

Dwight Bolinger Professor of Linguistics Emeritus Harvard University Minced oaths are etymological landmines, and if I were a better guesstymologist I probably would not tread on this one; but if it is a coincidence it is too good to be true, so here goes....

A Bawdy Language

A Bawdy Language: How A Second-Rate Language Slept Its Way to the Top, by Howard Richler, Stoddart, 1999. ISBN: 0-7737-3186-5. 208 pp. $15.95/£9.86 As you might guess from the title, A Bawdy Language is a rather irreverent and almost relentlessly topical romp through...

Believe it or Not

A new issue! Several, in fact, but here's the Table of Contents for the first of the new issues:Qat in Yemen Gregory Johnson Three Limericks Max Gutmann Cuckoo for Crack Mark Peters My Genetic Code Louis Phillips User-Friendly Turkish Martin Gani Linguistic Larceny:...

New issue on the way!

Vol. 32 No. 1 is making its way to the printer tomorrow; check out the table of contents for the new issue:Are Prepositions Necessary? by Rosemarie OstlerHanky-Panky, Hugger-Mugger, and Other Reduplicative Rhyming Compounds, by Amy Shuffelton and Jessy RandallThe...

What’s the French for “Fiddle de dee”?

What’s the French for "Fiddle de dee"? Margaret of Scotland, Wife of Louis XI, provides an answer for Lewis Carroll Here’s a question to explore, A query Alice merely parried When she was examined for The right to wear the crown she carried, And to be a pawn no more....

Favorite Words

Last year sometime (we?re very exact here at VERBATIM world headquarters) we asked you to send us your favorite words. Not necessarily the words whose meaning you most admired, but the words you found a joy to say, write and hear (and as some of you pointed out, to...

Intolerable Intolerance, Redux

EX CATHEDRA In Volume 1, Number 3 of Verbatim, Laurence Urdang, in an article entitled "An Intolerant View of Intolerance" wrote: "I consider myself–as, I am sure, everyone regards himself–a tolerant human being: I try to avoid prejudice in all things. Yet I must...

On Blue Moons, and Others

Nature has favored us with a single large satellite with two felicitous peculiarities: It always turns the same face towards us, and it appears exactly the same size in the sky as our sun. The latter property makes a total solar eclipse, if we are fortunate enough to...

Assing Around

The word ass appears in American slang in multiple ways with multiple meanings. It has a rich and varied history and can signify anything from good to bad to more. A mildly transgressive word, ass is not quite as serious as shit or fuck–it is more of a humorously...

Crossword #104 Answers

If you were missing the answers to Crossword #104 in XXXI/1, you're not the only one! Click here for them, which I know you're only using to check your own answers, right?

Word Words

Jon O. Newman United States Circuit Judge We need some new words to describe words. English already has several well known -onym words (from the Greek onyma meaning 'name'), such as synonym (same meaning), antonym (opposite meaning), and homonym (same sound). Less...

Slayer Slang (Part 1)

by Michael Adams Albright College Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BTVS), a recent teen television hit, coins slang terms and phrases in nearly every episode, many of them formed in the usual ways, some of them at the crest of new formative tendencies, and some of them...

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