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

I May Already Be a Wiener

Gary Wiener Pittsford, New York As a startup on my computer I have this soundbite: Homer Simpson, down on himself as usual, in dubious assessment of his self-worth, saying, "I am a WEE-NER." Homer surely evokes a good chuckle from his audience, and best of all, the...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

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?

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...

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...

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...

Identity and Language in the SM Scene

For the past seven years, I have been studying the process of identity formation among SM/radical-sex practitioners living in and around New York City, in preparation for my doctoral thesis in cultural anthropology. Among the first things that I noticed when I started...

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...

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?...

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