[Loch-Ruadh] Word of the Day, Feb. 16-17

Sonja Crocker sonja_crocker at usa.com
Sat Feb 16 08:17:30 PST 2002

The weekends are put together on one page, so ther will only be one word for Saturday and Sunday together.


A custom whereby, according to Athenian law, if a citizen were killed abroad and his death unatoned for, three subjects of the offending coutry were seized as reprisals.
--Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1888

On this date in 1872, William Minor, an expatriate American medical doctor, murdered a London brewery worker who, he mistakenly believed, was stalking him.  Minor, who had been traumatized by Civil War duty a decade earlier and was increasingly burdened by paranoia, was committed for life to Broadmoor, an English lunatic asylum.  In 1878, after reading about the project then under way to compite the New English Dictionary (the forerunner of the Oxford English Dictionary), he began submitting literary citations to its first editor, Sir James Murray.  Eventually, more than 12,000 of Minor's lexicographical snippets were incorporated into the dictionary, which was published in ten installments between 1888 and 1928.  Minor's condition, however, remained a mystery to Murray during most of their long and cordial postal relationship.


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