54 Min Released Apr 22, 2017

95. Kory Stamper (Lexicographer) – Lair of the Level 10 Word Mage

Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview archives.

Kory Stamper is a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster, often seen on their “Ask the Editor” video series. Her funny and fascinating book Word By Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries is about the how the sausage of dictionaries is made, and about the slipperiness of words themselves. This is not a “prescriptivist” manifesto, fussily criticizing people’s misuse of apostrophes or words like “irregardless.” On the contrary, like any lexicographer worth her salt (and salt, as Kory will tell you, was once so valuable it was used as money, which is where we get the word “salary” from…) Kory’s a professional “descriptivist”, painstakingly trying to pin down how words are actually used even as they try to wriggle away from her.

Surprise conversation starter interview clips:

Adam Mansbach on the term "political correctness" and Rob Bell on the word "Hell"

Think Again – a Big Think Podcast

Think Again – a Big Think Podcast

We surprise some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss.

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