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digitabulist

Postby sardith » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:11 pm

I was reading that today in 1684, the first patent was given for a thimble, (though of course, there have been thimbles before that time).

At the end of one of the articles, in what appeared to be an afterthought it read:

"People who collect thimbles are known as digitabulists."

Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/collecting- ... z1KZfJjueT
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

I'd never heard of the word, so I Googled, and this is where my question comes in. The word appears in internet sites, for the purpose of offering a platform for buying and selling thimbles, but not in dictionaries, i.e., it does not appear in the Oxford English Dictionary or Dictionary.com.

Is this considered a lexicological faux pas? :?
[using words that aren't officially considered words, or do people use their 'pet' words hoping that they will become officially considered words, if enough people use them]

Just wondering :?
Sardith
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~Mark Twain, [pen name for Samuel Clemens], American author and humorist, (1835-1910)~
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Postby Slava » Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:03 pm

Well, all dictionaries have their own rules, but there are some standards for how words get included. Unless you're Wiktionary or the Urban Dictionary, a lot of words don't make the cut. The publishers have to take space into consideration, for one.

They tend to go with words that have made it into the main stream and are used by the media, thus presenting them to a larger audience than the few thimble collectors and their ilk. Philately and numismatics are sufficiently wide-spread to make the grade. Even deltiology makes it, at least on dictionary.com.

If you do a search from the alphaDictionary.com home page, you'll find but one entry for your word, on Wiktionary. That means it hasn't been used enough to be common enough that people who don't know what it means will need to look it up.

One indicator of such and achievement would be if the author of the piece you quoted hadn't felt the need to explain what a digitabulist is. If a term is used as if it's well-known, that's a good starting point for inclusion in dictionaries.

Hope that answers your question.
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digitabulist

Postby sardith » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:44 am

Yes, Slava. You are always a big help. 8)

One more quick one. Is the Oxford English Dictionary considered the 'gold standard' for dictionaries? :?

Have a great day!

Sardith :D
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
~Mark Twain, [pen name for Samuel Clemens], American author and humorist, (1835-1910)~
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Postby Slava » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:32 pm

The OED is by far the best dictionary going for the English language. It is important to bear in mind, though, that it is the Oxford English Dictionary. The main bent is for British English, so some words accepted in America or Australia may well not be there. I can't think of one off the top of my head, but I'm sure they exist.
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