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

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Authors and Articles Vol XX

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XX1Ayto, JohnThe Titled Proletariat XX1Bailey, BelRoundabout East Anglia XX1Tius, Mary M.Vestiges XX1Ingleson, SharonFuture Difficulties XX1Herman, Louis JayWhat's in an Article? XX1Balado-Lopez, DanielDeveloping...

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 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...

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...

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...

Classical Blather

What is so rare as a day in June? And what is so common asa rhyme for it? Speakers of English through the century seem tohave delighted in the sound of the double o, rotund and warm,gently terminating in the soft glide of the n "as if it wereloath to cease."1 Popular...

Our New Address

VERBATIM has moved, and despite our renewing the forwarding request several times, the Chicago Post Office has decided it would be easier to pretend we don't exist. So if your letter is returned, our new address is:PO Box 597302Chicago IL 60659Our old address may be...

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 Vol XXVI

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XXVI1Urdang, LaurenceToday's Lesson XXVI1Humez, NickClassical Blather (Silly Songs) XXVI1Considine, JohnTwelve Notes on the Canadian Oxford Dictionary XXVI1Baldwin, BarryAs the Word Turns (Where Do They Come From?)...

Verbatim Sampler

The World According to Student Bloopers Richard Lederer Concord, New Hampshire [Excerpt] One of the fringe benefits of being an English or History teacher is receiving the occasional jewel of a student blooper in an essay. I have pasted together the following...

Review of A Feminist Dictionary

Review of A Feminist Dictionary, by Cheris Kramarae and Paula A. Treichler Where to begin? With the unpleasant little entry for lexicographer? With the nasty piece on dictionary? with the inaccurate definition of grammar? the somewhat silly entry at language? It is...

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...

The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary

BIBLIOGRAPHIA The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary, by Paul Dickson , 592 pp. Harvest Books (Harcourt Brace and Company), 1999. Hardcover $35.00, Paperback $20.00. We speak baseball all the time. Even those of us who know nothing about the nuances of the game...

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