How Scientific American Helps Shape the English Language

Scientific American magazine is widely recognized for its contributions to science and scientific publication. This reputation stems from the unique scope and longevity of the magazine (it’s been publishing continuously since 1845) and the diversity of its audience. It serves as a rare—even unique—meeting point for discourse between working scientists and the general public.

What’s perhaps more surprising is that Scientific American is also an influential force in nurturing the evolving lexicon of the English language. That’s not my opinion: it’s the opinion of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), widely considered the most authoritative source for the meaning, usage and history of English words—and the magazine ranks impressively high in the sources the dictionary cites as examples.

As one would expect, the OED lists the King James Version of the Holy Bible in the top 100 most-cited sources for word usage. The Bible ranks 61st, with 4,521 quotations appearing in the dictionary’s pages. But Scientific American outranks the Holy Book; it’s the 35th most frequent source for English

— source | R. Douglas Fields | Dec 5, 2018

Nullius in verba

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s