Here is an interesting little tidbit for all you word junkies and lexicographers.
Those of you who don’t suffer from either of these particular illnesses;
- Consider yourself lucky.
- This will probably strike you as the opposite of interesting.
has a scrollable PDF of the longest definition in the Oxford English Dictionary – all 221 pages of it.
60,000 words to be pedantic, and it is almost impossible to avoid being pedantic when discussing the OED.
And what is that word, you may ask, brain abuzz with esoteric rarities that survive solely in the speech of pasty-complected Middle-English Professors with elbow patches and bulgy eyes?
Well, The Most Complex Word in the English Language is …..
yep, that’s it; set.
And what’s more, in all those 60,000 words, I think they missed the usage that I heard the most often during my childhood.
And that would be:
When the number of fleas chewing on your bluetick hound Zeke reach critical mass and he starts to scratch with such ferocity that the front porch is in danger of detaching from the house, the correct response is to bellow “Set!” in a fine mist of beer and chewing tobacco as loudly as possible.
I think they missed that one, but truthfully I am not quite sure, cause try as I might, I just couldn’t read all those 60,000 words. The first few thousand are worth a peep though.