Re: Webster's Third

Subject: Re: Webster's Third
From: "Arlen P. Walker" <Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 1995 09:07:00 -0500

> Webster's Third does suggest that ``infer'' and ``imply'' are
> interchangeable, and it does accept ``hopefully.'' It should. That is how
> the average American speaks, which is what an unabridged dictionary is
> supposed to reflect. To criticize Webster's Third for not prescribing
> ``proper'' speech is to criticize it for something it shouldn't do in the
> first place.

Whenever anyone quotes Webster's Third, I remember the scene from one of Rex
Stout's Nero Wolfe novels in which Wolfe is at his dictionary stand, reading
aloud a word definition from his new copy of Webster's Third, harumphing, and
angrily ripping the page out and throwing into the trash can. It took me a long
time to accept it as an authority after that. (An example of the power of
editorial comment, I suppose.)

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.

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