Words

embargo, n. and v.
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LEXICOGRAPHY APPEARS to be a pleasantly dusty pursuit but, in our era, dictionary wars keep erupting at the behest of marketing men. They not only make Vercingetorix appear peaceable but their pret-a-porter polyester is all the more inelegant beside his hand-woven natural fibres.

Words in their natural order can arouse more passion than in the unique order that is either a masterpiece or tosh. Oxford, to upstage Encarta, has the same embargo time for its circular about the OED online and a request for everybody to submit printed instances of new words. A shipping term, via Spanish, from Latin imbarricare, to impede, embargo gained wider use later in the 17th century. Ironic, then, that both Encarta and the OED overlook gagging order.

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