"Laconic" and other words NYT readers have to look up

Thanks to the New York Times’s online dictionary we now know what words New York Times readers don’t know and need to look up. It’s a not particularly useful but quite interesting list.

The NYT has an inbuilt dictionary which pops up a link to a definition when you click or highlight a word – so by counting clicks they can measure what words send people scuttling to the paper’s dictionary.
181 nyt words.jpg

And – deep breath – here they are.. these are pretty serious. We’ve included the definitions (just in case).
1. sui generis – being the only example of its kind; unique
2. solipsistic – the adjective of “solipsism”: the theory that the self is the only thing that can be known and verified
3. louche – of questionable taste or morality; decadent
4. laconic – using or marked by the use of few words; terse or concise
5. saturnine – having or marked by a tendency to be bitter or sardonic

Cheesh. Well you won’t be seeing too many of those words in Shiny Shiny phone reviews, though quite a few USB gadgets could surely be called “louche” in that they are often of questionable taste.

(and lapidary, btw, means “gem-like”, that’s nice isn’t it?)

[via the Nieman Journalism Lab]
Anna Leach

One thought on “"Laconic" and other words NYT readers have to look up

  • Those word are quite common in Europe, where there was a lot of Greek and Roman influence. It’s not a bad thing to learn talking as today “to get” replaces “to listen”, “to understand”, etc.

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