'Inchoate' tops list of most-looked-up NY Times words

Click to follow
The Independent Tech

What are the 50 words that stump readers of The New York Times the most? The newspaper on Tuesday published its annual list of the words that readers have looked up the most frequently on NYTimes.com using the website's built-in American Heritage dictionary tool.

"Inchoate," "profligacy," "sui generis," "austerity" and "profligate" topped the list followed by "baldenfreude," a non-existent word that a New York Times columnist threw into an article, puzzling readers.

"Opprobrium," "apostates," "solipsistic" and "obduracy" were next on the list of the most-frequently looked up words followed by "internecine," "soporific," "Kristallnacht," "peripatetic" and "nascent."

The top word, "inchoate," which means not yet completed, was used in 13 news articles and seven op-ed pieces or editorials between January 1 and May 26 of this year and was looked up a total of 8,172 times.

Philip Corbett, the Times associate managing editor for standards, noted in his "After Deadline" blog that how often a word was looked up by readers on NYTimes.com depended to some extent on how often it was used in the newspaper.

"I don't suggest banning any of them - in some cases they may be the perfect choice, and we refuse to talk down to readers or dumb down our prose," Corbett said.

Comments