September 25, 2022

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The response from the “vocabularians” was so “ginormous” that the lexicographers let out a “whoot.” “Confuzzled?” You must be a “lingweenie.”
The editors of Merriam-Webster dictionaries got more than 3,000 entries when, in a lighthearted moment, they asked visitors to their Web site to submit their favorite words that aren’t in the dictionary.
“It was a lot of fun,” Arthur Bicknell, a spokesman for the Springfield-based dictionary publisher, said Monday. “We weren’t expecting so many. They only had two weeks. But it shows how much people love words. It was very, very gratifying.”
Some of the proposed words even gained multiple submissions so the editors came up with an admittedly unscientific Top 10 list.
In first place was “ginormous” — bigger than gigantic and bigger than enormous — followed by “confuzzled” for confused and puzzled simultaneously, and “whoot,” an exclamation of joy. A “lingweenie” — a person incapable of making up new words — was tenth.
The survey, like a similar one the dictionary publisher ran last year asking readers their favorite word in the dictionary, “was all in the spirit of good fun,” said John M. Morse, president and publisher.
Getting a word into the dictionary is a more serious business, he said, with a candidate typically requiring years of use in a variety of printed matter to demonstrate the breadth of its acceptance and staying power with the American public.
In addition to the Top Ten, some loyal Mary Poppins fans submitted “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” which is in the Oxford English Dictionary, Bicknell said. He also spotted “a number of Harry Potterisms” among the entries.
“We will have to see about those,” he said.
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