Letter: Infotainment that is simply bodacious

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Sir: It is gratifying that our inclusion of 'bodacious' in the new Chambers Encyclopedic English Dictionary has aroused such interest (letters, 15 September). I hope it will encourage your readers to investigate the book further, where they will find many surprises.

Our 1993 citation for 'bodacious' from The List is not the earliest, neither is it meant to be authoritative; it is simply an instance among others of its use in a modern British context, which is the point at issue here. I am aware that it is attested much earlier in the standard authorities as an American dialect word - and, indeed, even earlier than your correspondents acknowledge: there is published evidence from the 19th century, although the meaning is somewhat different. The dialect origins of modern language are a fruitful area of study.

This is of course all good infotainment - another colourful word that users will find in our dictionary.

Yours faithfully,


Publishing Director