Word of the Day Archive
Sunday June 20, 1999
lexicon \LEK-suh-kon\ , noun;
plural lexicons or lexica \-kuh\:
1. A book containing an alphabetical arrangement of the words in a language with the definition of each; a dictionary.
2. The vocabulary of a person, group, subject, or language.
3. [Linguistics] The total morphemes of a language.
He thought it right in a lexicon of our language to collect many words which had fallen into disuse.
-- James Boswell, Life of Johnson
There were schoolbooks for young James: Ovid, Caesar, Virgil, Terence, Greek grammar, Greek lexicon.
-- Linda K. Kerber, No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies
Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians fled their homes during the fighting and became, in the lexicon of relief workers, IDPs, or internally displaced persons.
-- "Casualties of War", Washington Post, June 15, 1999
Curse words ceased to shock; many moved into the accepted lexicon.
-- Bruce J. Schulman, The Seventies
Backwardness" was a very important word in the Soviet Communist lexicon: it stood for everything that belonged to old Russia and needed to be changed in the name of progress and culture.
-- Sheila Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism
Lexicon comes from Greek lexikon, from lexikos, "of or belonging to words," from lexis, "a speaking, speech, a way of speaking, a word or phrase," from legein, "to say, to speak."