Mouth-friend? Tonguepad? Words in the age of dictionary growth spurt
Both words are to be found in Samuel Johnson’s 1755 ‘A Dictionary of the English Language’.
Dr Johnson defined ‘mouthfriend’ as “someone who pretends to be your friend” and ‘tonguepad’ as “a great talker”.
His word for a personal trainer was a ‘shapesmith’. He defined this as “one who undertakes to improve the form of the body”.
It’s quite extraordinary to think that it took Dr Johnson eight years to compile his dictionary, despite the help of six assistants who worked alongside him in his house, just off Fleet Street.
Especially today, in the age of dictionary growth spurts as Merriam-Webster describes its latest addition of more than 1,700 entries and the expansion of existing entries “by more than 700 new senses”.
Its additions include ‘net neutrality’, ‘dark money’, ‘click fraud’, ‘emoji’, ‘meme’ and ‘click bait’.
(Tomorrow: Remember adorkable, gaybourhood? Online dictionaries validate nowspeak)