Wordnik: The Web’s Last Word on Words

October 25, 2011

Wordnik (wərd-nik) noun. 1. A person associated with or characterized by a love of words, word usage, linguistics, or lexicography. 2. A startup company headquartered in San Mateo, California. Origin: word + -nik (Yiddish, from Russian). Cf. beatnik, peacenik.

On the Internet, it’s hard to get people to slow down enough to use actual words, rather than just acronyms (LOL, IMHO, WTF). Which makes it all the more unusual to see someone like Erin McKean, the former editor-in-chief of the New Oxford American Dictionary, founding a Silicon Valley startup. Lexicographers are a pretty rare breed to begin with—”You could fit us all in a 737 and still have room left over for copy editors,” McKean jokes—but you’re even less likely to find them patrolling the Web, where crass and careless language has long since overpowered concision and eloquence. Read more>>>>