Notes from The Heart House

Brainy single-payer blog testing the waters on business, media, art and culture with the occasional critical theory slant.

The Value of 25 Cent Words

The 50 most frequently looked-up words on NYTimes.com in 2009 and Memo from Philip Corbett at The Nieman Journalism Lab.

The 50 most looked-up words on NY Times include the following: “antediluvian, louche, parlous.” Though we want to keep language varied and extensive, and though we do want to throw some marvelous words at readers occasionally, word choice seems best used in tandem with good judgment in consideration of the nature of the publication and its audience.

Language is a living thing and word meanings change over time, but I would hate to see definitions evolve only because a group of writers in a position of influence happens to thumb through the thesaurus on a regular basis.

I share Mr. Corbett’s sentiment and enjoyed reading his eloquent memo, which needed no fancy words.

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Filed under: Five Second Non Sequitur, News and Media, ,

2 Responses

  1. Jonathan says:

    Antediluvian is a great word, and I can never quite get my head around the way it is spelled (in much the same manner as you sometimes say a word, and think “that doesn’t sound right”).

    Great blog btw – just wondered in from a search for “writing” on wordpress.com :)

  2. Stella Tran says:

    Yes! My fingers kept trying to type “antideluvian.”

    And thank you so much for the kind note :) I’m enjoying your blog as well!

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About the Author

Stella Tran graduated in the Liberal Arts with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Grinnell College and developed her professional experience in knowledge discovery and new media technology at Yahoo! Inc. (Read more.)

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