“James Dixon, a surgeon who contributed many slips to the OED, was shocked when he came across references to “an article called a Cundum” —an older spelling of condom— which he glossed for James Murray as “a contrivance used by fornicators, to save themselves from a well-deserved clap; also by others who wish to enjoy copulation without the possibility of impregnation.” Disturbed by this “very obscene subject,” Dixon made the case that the word was “too utterly obscene” for inclusion in the dictionary. He got his way: the word condom was omitted from the first edition of the OED.
[…] led to the omission of some of the commonest words in the English language” – above all,  fuck and cunt. Both were studiously excluded from The Oxford English Dictionary until the supplement of 1972.”

Lynch, Jack (2009). The Lexicographer’s Dilemma: The Evolution of “Proper” English, from Shakespeare to South Park.  Walker Books, p. 157-158 [Kindle Edition].

Revista Diacrítica (Centro de Estudos Humanísticos; Universidade do Minho) na coleção SciELO Portugal.

Revista Diacrítica na coleção SciELO Portugal

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A Revista Diacrítica é o periódico oficial do Centro de Estudos Humanísticos da Universidade do Minho, subdividido em três volumes distintos que preconizam as linhas de ação do Centro de Investigação que lhe é base: Ciências da Literatura, Ciências da Linguagem e Filosofia e Cultura. Submetido a um rigoroso sistema de arbitragem científica e com manifestação internacional, este periódico tem como principal objetivo publicar e divulgar investigação de excelência, tanto nacional como internacional, no seguimento das suas linhas de ação, acolhendo propostas de publicação de colaboradores internos e externos ao CEHUM que se enquadrem nos seus domínios de estudos.



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Lynch, Jack (2009). The Lexicographer’s Dilemma: The Evolution of “Proper” English, from Shakespeare to South Park.  Walker Books, p. 157-158 [Kindle Edition]:

… the English language as a set of circles, some concentric, some overlapping. But these were no ordinary circles. “The English language”, he [James A.H. Murray] explained to the Philological Society in 1880,

is not a square with definite sides containing its area; it is a circle, but a circle such as Euclid never contemplated, having as its centre a point which hath many parts, and nowhere bounded by any line called a circumference. It is a spot of colour on a damp surface, which shades away imperceptibly into the surrounding colourlessness; it is an illuminated area in a midnight landscape, whose beams practically end somewhere, though no eye hath beheld the vanishing line.17

At the center, he explained in the preface, is “a nucleus or central mass of many thousand words whose ‘Anglicity’ is unquestioned.” 18 The “Common Words of the language” include both formal and informal words, but all of them are universally recognized as essential parts of the language. It’s hard to say exactly how large this “central mass” is. […]

But while it’s possible to count the most popular words in English, there’s no way to reckon the least popular words, and as you go further from the “nucleus,” their Anglicity becomes less obvious: “there is absolutely no defining line in any direction,” Murray explained; “the circle of the English language has a well-defined centre but no discernible circumference.” Still he knew that the theoretical question would require a pragmatic answer, and that “the lexicographer must . . . ‘draw the line somewhere.’

17. James A.H. Murray, “Ninth Annual Address,” p. 131.

18. James A.H. Murray et al., “General Explanations,” in OED1, 1:XXVII”


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O Mestrado Europeu em Lexicografia (EMLex) é oferecido na Universidade do Minho em colaboração com várias Universidades.

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