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WordSpy as Collective Intelligence

I’ve long been a fan of WordSpy, Paul McFedries’ site that features definitions and first use of new words and phrases. It’s a great trendspotting tool. The words we use give surprising insight into popular consciousness. Many of them, like junk sleep, silent disco, free-range kid, or Blackberry prayer illustrate new social trends, while others like phantom load or quake lake are terms of art that have entered popular consciousness, and still others, like naked street are like deli.cio.us links to things you’ve never heard of, but could end up being important or useful.

Paul used to offer the service by email, but discontinued it years ago, and as a result my use of the site declined. I was delighted to see that he recently re-instituted email delivery of the new daily WordSpy entry. And of course, there’s RSS, and I just talked Paul into adding a WordSpy twitter feed as well.

I twittered about this, and Erin McKean pointed to another great word site, doubletongued.org.

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  • Warren Yoder

    Thanks for the tip. I’ve followed WordSpy for a long time, checking every week or two when I thought about it. RSS makes it much easier.

  • Footprint in the Sand

    I made the word ‘laptot’ (small cheap laptop like the eeePC) recently.

    I made it in response this this thread:
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/04/ubuntu_netbook_remix_demonstrated/comments/

    I like my new word, it has a certain about it.

    It’s making progress
    http://smurfonspreadsheets.wordpress.com/2008/06/05/laptot/

    As the father of a new word, I feel it necessary to defend my word and encourage it. Hence I’d like to mention that laptot means small laptop and desktot mean a small desktop. When the EeePc desktop arrives it would make a new dad proud if you’d call it a desktot! :)

    Here’s to the new generation of Desktots!

  • http://www.mensvita.de Ralf

    Thank you for the information, I will try to make german words ..

  • http://www.gottahavacuppamocha.com Michael H

    There’s a site called World Wide Words that does something similar, though they mainly look at archaic or obscure words. They also have a weekly newsletter sent out by e-mail.

  • http://www.podictionary.com/ Charles Hodgson

    podictionary the podcast for word lovers comes in 4 flavors, email, rss, blog & podcast

    (Erin, Grant & Paul rock)