By, Donna M. Monnig
Dord. Sounds like something out of a Star Wars movie or an episode of Star Trek or Farscape, doesn’t it? However, dord actually belongs in a cemetery rather than a sci-fi show; it is afterall, a ghost word.
In 1934 when Merriam Webster printed their, New International Dictionary, 2nd Edition, the nonexistent word, dord, was mistakenly published. Somewhere during the process of compiling new words for density, someone mistook D or d, [two letters and the word or] for an actual word.
The error was caught in 1939, but for whatever reason, it was not corrected and removed until the year 1947.
So ends the tale of one of the greatest grammar mistakes of all time – dord, the dictionary disaster – Merriam Webster’s only (known) fake or ghost word.
Here’s a small tribute to the word that didn’t exist, because as Carol Burnett once said: “Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own.”
Here Lies Dord
Born 1934-Died 1947
Long may he live in that
big dictionary in the sky!
For more details and a video on the word, dord, see Merriam Webster’s website at: www.merriam-webster.com
Had you ever heard of dord? What strange words have you come across?