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

Winter 2000 Back Issue

Where Did He Put The Pen of My Aunt? Navajo Revealed David C. Cates Maplewood, New Jersey Intricate miracles underlie even ordinary events like sunshine, eyesight, and air. Yet their ordinariness seems to stifle the kindling of wonder. This may be the point of a...

Authors and Articles Vol XXIII

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XXIII1Schindler, Marc A.(Dia)critic's Corner XXIII1Richler, HowardGalling Gallicisms of Quebec English XXIII1Temianka, DanielThe King of Wordsmiths XXIII1Davidson, J. A.The Problem of Names XXIII1Crilly, JosephineTurning To...

Authors and Articles Vol XVII

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XVII1Peterson, Max C.The Language of the Law XVII1Sypnowich, PeterNeedless to Say XVII1Pomfrit, D.A.Verbal Analogies V--Divination XVII2Pascal, PaulWhat's in a Roman Name? XVII2Bach, ZelligThe Scandalous Yiddish Guide of...

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...

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...

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...

A Backhanded Pardon

"My Lord, I had forgott the Fart." Queen Elizabeth I, as told by Aubrey When Oxford first appeared at Court, He blushed to hear a loud report Behind him as he bent his knee Before Elizabeth, and she Must have shown she too had heard By uttering a witty word, Such as:...

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 :...

The Art and Technique of Citation Reading

Laurence Urdang Editor, VERBATIM The uninitiated often wonder where lexicographers find the words they list and describe in the dictionaries they compile, edit, and revise. Nonprofessional and unprofessional dictionary compilers may often get them from secondary...

Graphic Account

As code, is how the alphabet Began in use. Visible ink. Cuneiform, which few regret, Did everything most people think Essential in a writing system For three millennia of sale, Gift, loan-could number, name, and list them, Hard copy, should agreement fail. It was so...

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...

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...

Epistolae 242

In William H. Dougherty’s "Bromides" in the Winter, 1999 issue, lumpectomy appears to be presented as equivalent to mastectomy. Not corect. Lumpectomy means just what one might guess, excision of a lump. Mastectomy is the surgical removal of the entire breast, the...

A Bestiary of Adjectives

Darwin, Desmond Morris, and David Atten-borough, to mention but three, teach us that man is just another animal: a hairless primate distinguished by uniquely complex language patterns. In DNA terms a human being is more than 95 percent chimpanzee. Does that explain...

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