Today is National Dictionary Day, which is celebrated every year on the birthday of Noah Webster. This week has started to catch up with me, so, I’m using a re-run, a story I wrote in honor of this day exactly 10 years ago. It was a story I wrote before the move to yahoo groups, and it has not been repeated since, which means for most of you, it is brand spanking new.
The year was 1828. Noah Webster was about to publish his first dictionary of American English, and the momentous occasion was going to be celebrated with a ceremony at which he would give a speech. “Surely,” thought Webster, “I must expound upon the enormity and significance of the language and succinctly prognosticate to the purveyors of American education that the putative modes of communication, in their tyrannical and star-chambered origins, are soon to be made wholly extinct by the neoteric evolution of the language. My new dictionary obviates those lingual dependencies, and, despite possible tergiversation, and lexiphanic obnubilation, I will, without doubt, eschew obfuscation.”
Webster, who had a tendancy to bloviate, was never asked to speak again. Instead, he decided it was time to start a college, where no one could prevent him from speaking ever again.
Admittedly, it’s a short tale. I’m not going to define the other words used. That’s why you have a dictionary. I will say I’ve used these in Word of the Day stories before, so you may yet see them again.
bloviate / blo – V – ate / to speak or write verbosely and windily. This word didn’t enter the language until 1897, so, admittedly, it never would’ve been applied to Webster during his life. It’s Webster that we have to thank for including in his dictionary and documenting the truly American words like “skunk,” “squash,” and “chowder.”