The Crowdsourced Dictionary

Just because we say it, doesn’t make it a word. I say a lot of things that shouldn’t be integrated into the common vernacular. But isn’t that the measure of a language? Usage? As we’ve discussed before, it’s actually a pretty long process to get a word into the dictionary.

And yet, the Collins dictionary is generating a new set of entries from the crowd. Starting in July, word suggestions were submitted by the crowd and reviewed by editors. There were more than 4,000 entries and 86 of those submissions were entered into the official CollinsDictionary.com.

Most of the words are part of daily, but highly casual usage: “to facebook” (as a verb), “lolz,” and “totes” among them. Interesting that these were the choices that made the final cut.

In addition to being listed as the person who made the accepted word suggestion, users also received prizes for their contributions. Prizes ranged anywhere from headsets to iTunes vouchers to t-shirts. Even though all of the prizes are now gone, site visitors can still submit their words for consideration, but first have to make a Collins Dictionary profile.

What do you think about the Collins process of crowdsourced definitions? Are you surprised at their selections?

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