The Selfie-Taker and the Dictionary-Maker | Public Books
John Simpson was hired as an editorial assistant at the Oxford English Dictionary in 1976, he took on the task of documenting new meanings of old words. When was queen
first used to describe mattress sizes and women’s plus-size clothing?
Was its use for homosexuals originally an Australian invention? How and
when did Louis Pasteur’s aerobic work its way into a plural
noun for a kind of vigorous exercise? Such investigations require
patience and tenacity. As detection goes, they’re less redolent of
Sherlock Holmes than of Inspector Lestrade.
Simpson’s engaging memoir of his 37 years at the OED describes a period of unprecedented change.