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

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 :...

Epistolae 243

While reading William Dougherty’s article "Bromides" (XXIV/1) about the reluctance that physicians exhibit in speaking frankly about their patients’ life-threatening conditions, using euphemisms and circumlocutions, I remembered an experience I had that illustrates...

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...

Strictly Speaking

STRICTLY SPEAKING, Edwin Newman, Bobbs-Merrill, 1974, ix + 193 pp. $7.95 [Reviewed by Laurence Urdang] Linguists, especially lexicographers, are bound by a scholarly oath to describe--neither to prescribe nor proscribe--language, and their mission is to record, in as...

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,...

Darn!

I was thinking of Dwight Bolinger the other day (as you do) and remembered that he had written a very nice short article about "Darn!" for VERBATIM back in the day. Enjoy!...

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...

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...

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....

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...

Antedate Dictionary Citations

David Shulman New York City this article originally appeared in VERBATIM vol 2. no. 2, in February 1976 In VERBATIM II, 1, appeared an interesting article on dictionary citations in general. This article, however, is intended to complement it by describing only a...

Letters

Dear Sir: Just a couple of SIC!s from Vol. 24 No. 1. 1. In the article "The Last Pibroch", the author writes of clan chiefs memorizing a few words of Gaelic "to impress visiting dignatories." Is this the Gaelic for "dignitaries"? 2. Concerning Odet's use of the word...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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