"Admonish shot to the top of the list three days after Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst during a speech made by President Obama, and it remained among our top lookups for weeks," said Peter A. Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster's Editor at Large. "When the House announced plans to 'admonish' Rep. Wilson, the word was understood to be technical or official, and it has been repeated often in coverage of recent contentious political issues. While this particular story wasn't very important in the context of a year's worth of news, it triggered enormous interest in this word." Visit http://www.merriam-webster.com/info/09words.htm for the rest of the story and the runners-up, including my favorite, "repose." I think of "repose" as Miss Congeniality.
The Word of the Year festivities continue: The New Oxford American Dictionary has friended "unfriend." Check out their blog, which explains the selection process and offers a gloomy list of the runners-up: http://blog.oup.com/2009/11/unfriend/.
Harold Bloom reviews the latest biography of the tercentenary, David Nokes' Samuel Johnson: A Life, in Sunday's New York Times Book Review. Bloom says this "workmanlike book" is also "moving and informative." Here's a link to the complete review: http://tinyurl.com/yhbq6ad.
Here's an invitation from Charlotte Brewer, Hertford College, Oxford, and organizer of ICHLL5: A reminder that ICHLL 5 is being held at St Anne’s College, Oxford, UK on 16-18 June 2010. The conference will celebrate the tenth anniversary of OED Online, i.e. the major revision of the OED currently underway in Oxford, but proposals are welcomed for papers on any topic in lexicography and lexicology. Please send abstracts (no more than 300 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 November 2009. Registration is available online at the conference website, http://www.english.ox.ac.uk/ichll2010/, where more information may be found, including details of tours and receptions. We look forward to seeing as many existing ISHLL members as possible and we extend a warm welcome to newcomers.