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June 16, 1962

The British Medical Dictionary

JAMA. 1962;180(11):990. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050240086032

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Webster's New International Dictionary (Unabridged). Pp. 2,662. G. & C. Merriam Co., Springfield, Mass., 1961.

In 1961, two "new" dictionaries appeared, similar in size but dissimilar in mission, country of publication, and ready acceptance, as I judge dictionaries. The third edition of Webster's International Dictionary with 2,662 pages appeared in the United States. The British Medical Dictionary was published in London. The shortcomings of the new Webster's Dictionary are related to the concept that "the spoken language is the language, and that correctness rests upon usage." I can raise only a feeble complaint against this dictum of the experts, although "data is," "hain't," "dollarwise," "yakety-yak," and those smut words of 4 and 5 letters seem strangely out of order in a book that has come to be the final source of authority on words and definitions. I presume if I were chair-bound in front of the television screen I could