A. Ross Eckler


Among word buffs, 1971 will undoubtedly be remembered as the year that the Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary was published, making this monumental work available at one-third the price and one-sixth the bulk of the original. An exceedingly useful lexicographic tool has been placed in the hands of many who formerly had to make a trip to the library to consult it. By contrast, one of the least-heralded publishing events of 1971 was the appearance of Jack Levine's A List of Pattern Words of Lengths Two Through Nine. Nevertheless, I predict that the Levine dictionary may have a greater impact than the COED on word buffs. The information in the COED has been available in the OED for decades, but Levine's dictionary enables the logologist to view Webster's Unabridged in an entirely new light: specifically, it groups together all words with the same underlying pattern, such as EXCESS and BAMBOO (and, in fact, 23 rarer words also having the letter-pattern abcadd). Furthermore, the COED costs $75, but the Levine dictionary may be obtained free while the limited supply lasts.