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September 2019

The Scrivener: Word Up!

By Elizabeth Scott Moïse

SC Lawyer

Reprinted with permission from the S.C. Bar Association

I came home a week ago to find a happy surprise in the mail: a friend had sent a non-fiction book, titled The Surgeon of Crowthorne: A Tale of Murder, Madness, and the Love of Words, about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary. “The OED,” as we dictionary nerds affectionately call it, took 50 years to amass, using the help of thousands of word-loving volunteers—including an American doctor who performed his word research while serving as an inmate in an English asylum for the criminally insane. Published in 1857, the original 10-volume OED was a labor-intensive project that traced the origin and meaning of every word in the English language without having the benefit of the internet. My word! (pun intended) 

For the other word-loving members of the South Carolina Bar, see how many of the following words you can match up with their definitions.