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

Racing for Definitions in South Africa

M. Lynne Murphy Baylor University, Waco, Texas For four years, I taught at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. "Wits", as it is known, is one of the two major English-language universities in South Africa, and in the deep, dark days of...

Dictionaries of Hard Words Come Easy

Ramona R. Michaelis Supervising Editor Funk & Wagnalls Standard College Dictionary One of the major problems that faces the lexicographer at the start of a new dictionary is, quite simply, the selection of entries for definition. Of the total English word stock of...

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....

You’ve Got Game Part II

Gloria Rosenthal Valley Stream, New York By now you have given, received, played and enjoyed all the games on last year's list. I have a positive outlook when it comes to games; I'm positive I'm recommending the best. The games marked with asterisks are new this year,...

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...

The Twelve Days of Christmas

We're not quite at the "partridge in a pear tree" stage of the month yet, but I thought you might all enjoy this review, by Larry Urdang, of Thomas L. Bernard's The Twelve Days of Christmas: The Mystery and The Meaning, from Vol. XXI/3: Professor Bernard, who teaches...

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...

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:...

DARE-More Than Halfway There

Dictionary of American Regional English Because logophiles regularly ask about the progress of the Dictionary of American Regional English (familiarly known as DARE), I'd like to take the opportunity of VERBATIM's rebirth to bring you all up to date. First, let me...

Letters, We Get Letters

One of my favorite parts of VERBATIM has always been the letters to the editor. They're often more like bite-size articles than like traditional letters to the editor. This one, below, was the first letter in Volume I, No. 1, from Eric Hamp. Dear Sir:People often...

VERBATIM, Summer 1999 Vol. 24 No. 3

Slayer Slang (Part 1) - The marvellous slang uses and inventions of the popular TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. by Michael Adams Identity and Language in the SM Scene - The importance of language in forming identity, and some misunderstandings that can arise. . . by...

Fun Things to Say in Spanish, French & English

Joseph K. Slap Los Angeles, California There are many people from Spanish-speaking nations here in southern California. It’s fun, for me and for them, to converse in Spanish. Those people get a big grin from my non-rhyming poem, in Spanish. I tell the people, "Quando...

Authors and Articles Vol XXVII

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XXVII1Hargraves, OrinRendering the Language of Daad XXVII1Eskenazi, GeraldUnexpected Surprises XXVII1Galef, DavidA Column on Columns XXVII1Wood, D. RussThe Slang of the Day XXVII1Powell, SteveFancy a Viking, Sooty?...

Authors and Articles Volume XIII

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XIII1Kahn, John EllisonPolysemania, Semantic Taint, and Related Conditions XIII1Lazerson, Barbara HuntPatterned Words and Phrases XIII1Queenan, JoeWhen Everything Was Everything XIII1Hirschberg, StephenPlaying Words with...

SIC! SIC! SIC!

Inclimate Weather Affects Defense the Most "You try to go in the gym and emulate as many activities as you can, but it’s still not the same." State College coach Jeff Kissell, in the State College Daily News, March 30, 1999. [Submitted by Bill Simon III, State...

BONA PALARE: the Language of Round the Horne

Some historians of comedy argue that Round The Horne, a BBC sketch show broadcast between 1965 and 1968, prolonged the life of radio as a major medium of entertainment in the UK, at a time when TV was rapidly establishing its regrettable hegemony. Certainly, RTH was...

Words For Their Own Sake

John Konrad Kern Signal Hill, California Strip a word of its meaning and etymology and what do you have? You have a collection of alphabetic characters arranged in a unique order. Devoid of definition, however, these strings of letters have virtually no utility. But I...

Authors and Articles Vol XIX

XIX1Brashear, WilliamHocus Pocus XIX1Bernstein, Marc A.A Toast: To the Tautology XIX1Lowrey, BurlingInvestigating the Racqueteers XIX1Swift, BobJoin Me For a Spell XIX1Carver, Craig M.Etymology as Educated Guess XIX1Simpson, David L.Of "Coat-wearers" and "Kekiongas":...

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 :...

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