Here Lies Dord: The Word That Didn’t Exist

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:

Had you ever heard of dord? What strange words have you come across? 


About Donna M. Monnig

Donna M. Monnig is a published poet, aspiring novelist, freelance writer, a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, and is a cowgirl at heart.
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5 Responses to Here Lies Dord: The Word That Didn’t Exist

  1. Pingback: Welcome to “OFFICIANADO!” It’s not a typo. It’s an attempt at a new trend. It’s new lingo for language lovers who lather in the lavatories after lunch. « There's no business, like your business, like my business, I

  2. booklover says:

    I’d never heard of dord! I love your little tombstone tribute, it’s so creative! “in that big dictionary in the sky!” how funny!


  3. Vince says:

    Funny Stuff sounds like a pet name. I like the tribute as well. You definitely have something good going on here for sure.


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