Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Welcome to the Chambers Editors’ Blog!

Welcome to our very first Chambers blog, where you will be able to read the Chambers editorial team's musings on lexicographic and linguistic topics (and probably a few other things besides). Clishmaclaver struck us as an apt title, as the home of Chambers has always been in Edinburgh, Scotland, and clishmaclaver is what is known around these parts as 'a good Scottish word'.

When I tell people that I am a dictionary editor, it usually elicits an enthusiastic response, and not a little envy. To work so closely with words is clearly on many people's 'dream jobs' list, and so I am reminded that I am in a very privileged position. Some of the words we find ourselves working with in The Chambers Dictionary are, and I say this without overstatement, superb. No matter how familiar you become with the text, you still find some new delight every time you venture in. My own current favourites? Tosticated, meaning 'perplexed', and galimatias, a lovely synonym for 'nonsense'.

Making the dictionary available online has brought a whole new dimension to our work as lexicographers. The gap of years before we could add a collection of new material – or even a single new word – is no longer, and now we only have to hold off for a few months before we bring in the latest crop of good candidates. Like the profession of lexicography as a whole, this is a challenge as well as a pleasure, but we have the satisfaction of knowing that we are keeping our dictionary at the cutting edge of vocabulary coverage.

Mary O'Neill

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