Happy #DictionaryDay! Here are our top ten suggestions for how you can celebrate wherever you are. Noah Webster with a birthday hat on - National Dictionary Da
10. Read about Noah Webster's many successful spelling reforms. And the ones that didn't catch on. (We almost had 'soop' and 'tung.') 
9. Cut thumb notches in all your books.
8. Make today the day you finally figure out i.e. and e.g.

Bookmark it for when you need to look it up again tomorrow. merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/…
7. Listen to one of our podcasts. Find that the English language is a weirder thing than you ever thought. Get some laundry done. digital.nepr.net/podcasthub/wor…
6. Alphabetize your spice rack.
5. Honor Noah Webster's memory by finding a word with an extra U in it and kicking it.
4. Get a tattoo. Reflect upon how the pain is less than having to define every word starting with S.
3. Pick a random word. Write a haiku with it that beautifully describes life's divine interplay of beauty and strife.

Or maybe a haiku about breakfast.
2. Memorize this pronunciation. 
1. Find a rock. Paint your favorite word on it. Hide it and never tell a soul.

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More from @MerriamWebster

10 Sep
Everyone loves to hate verbs made with '-ize,' probably because, morphologically, almost any noun or adj in English can be turned into a verb this way. 'Finalize' was among the most controversial entries in our 1961 Unabridged, but it probably doesn't bother many today. #AskMW
And poor 'utilize' is attacked all the time, but it can create a useful distinction, if used judiciously.


If you don't like 'incentivize,' cover your eyes now, because there's also the verb 'incent.'

Basically, business jargon nearly always annoys somebody.


Read 5 tweets
10 Sep
This is such a good question. There actually isn't a "standard" phonetic transcription system for English (which is surprising). Dictionary companies come up with their own, which are inevitably similar to each other, with small differences.

Here is an actual honest-to-goodness more-than-you-need-to-know guide to pronunciation:


Here's the thing: this system is idiosyncratic for English and is NOT the International Phonetic Alphabet, which is usually referred to as (a slightly less hoppy) "IPA."

Read 8 tweets
31 Aug
Look, we might be biased on this, but it's our position that giving a kid a dictionary can change the way they see both language and the world. merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/…
As it happens, in addition to running a mildly popular Twitter account, we also publish a wide and lavish array of print dictionaries.

So in the spirit of back-to-school, here’s a guide to a few that might make a difference to the student in your life.
For early readers, the Elementary Dictionary is a wonderful companion. merriam-webster.com/shop-dictionar… Merriam-Webster's Elementar...
Read 7 tweets
22 Jul
Language change! It's a thing.

For example, 'precipitation' originally meant “haste” and “the act of hurling or casting down”—it had no connection to water falling from the sky.

'Habit' originally meant "clothing."

(We still call a nun's clothing a 'habit.')

'Mean' originally meant "humble" or "ordinary."

(From there to "stingy" and from there to "cruel.")

Read 9 tweets
19 Jul
Sometimes one just feels whelmed by (gestures at everything).

For those moments, here is a wieldy and kempt list of words that may help to keep you gruntled.

'Whelm' and 'overwhelm' have been with us since Middle English, and their meanings have largely overlapped: "to overpower in thought or feeling."

'Underwhelmed' is from around 1950.

'Whelmed' meaning "moderately impressed" is more recent.

Read 13 tweets
22 Jun
Hi parents! To help your kids ages 8-12 beat the summer slump, we’ve put together an entire season’s worth of vocab activities and book recs that will keep them reading and learning all summer long.

Check out our Puku Summer Camp program here! merriam-webster.com/vocabulary/puk… Puku Summer weekly calendar...
Our Week 1 theme is The Great Outdoors, featuring nature-inspired games and activities, as well as a vocab guide to @KeklaMagoon’s ‘The Season of Styx Malone.’

Read and play along with us here:
Good news, campers: this week’s installment has been updated with a vocab guide to ‘Island of the Blue Dolphins’ by Scott O’Dell! merriam-webster.com/topics/puku-su…
Read 5 tweets

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