From the NYT's Draft blog, an article that won my heart when, in the first paragraph, it used the words "bibliomancy" and "malapropism" and then made a Princess Bride reference. It also contains the phrases "lexical dark matter" and "laggard lexicographers." It's a good read and a good reminder that dictionaries are meant to reflect language, not the other way round.
Scholars recently analyzed more than five million digitized books, about 4 percent of all the books ever printed. Publishing their findings in Science, the researchers discovered that, by their estimation, "52 percent of the English lexicon—the majority of the words used in English books—consists of lexical 'dark matter' undocumented in standard references."
Also: "Since editors at most traditional dictionaries won’t include a word until they see published evidence of its use, holding off on using a word just because it’s not in the dictionary can actually delay its inclusion."
And that concludes our daily word nerdery. You're welcome.