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Word Wednesday: Abacot

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Ambrose Bierce
The Devil’s Dictionary

Generations of reference books once included this term, including the first edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, dated 1771 […]

James Murray, the famous editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, found that the original word was bycoket, which was indeed a form of headgear, a cap or headdress with a peak both in front and behind, whose name he thought derived from an Old French term for a small castle crowning a hill. He declared abacot to be a ghost word and wrote in an article in [T]he Athenaeum in February 1882:

“There is not, never was, such a word.”

His entry for abacot in the first edition of the OED read in its entirity [sic] “a spurious word found in many dictionaries, originating in a misprint of bycoket.” In the bycoket entry, he told the story:

Through a remarkable series of blunders and ignorant reproductions of error, this word appears in modern dictionaries as abacot. In Hall’s Chronicles a bicocket appears to have been misprinted abococket, which was copied by Grafton, altered by Holinshed to abococke, and finally “improved” by Abraham Fleming to abacot (perhaps through an intermediate abacoc) […]

One may instead argue that since the word has — albeit rarely — been used, then it exists and ought to be treated as such. There is, after all, no shortage of words that have been grossly altered through popular error. The revision of its entry in the Oxford English Dictionary in December 2011 takes this view […]

Michael Quinion
Weird Words (Abacot)
World Wide Words
April 15, 2006 (Updated: June 23, 2012)

You want to know what an abacot/bycoket is? Think Robin Hood. ~Vic

Throwback Thursday: World Wide Web 1993

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And, the world was never the same. ~Vic

On April 30, 1993, four years after publishing a proposal for “an idea of linked information systems,” computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee released the source code for the world’s first web browser and editor. Originally called Mesh, the browser that he dubbed WorldWideWeb became the first royalty-free, easy-to-use means of browsing the emerging information network that developed into the internet as we know it today.

Berners-Lee was a fellow at CERN, the research organization headquartered in Switzerland. Other research institutions like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University had developed complex systems for internally sharing information and Berners-Lee sought a means of connecting CERN’s system to others. He outlined a plan for such a network in 1989 and developed it over the following years. [He] wrote and published the first web page, a simplistic outline of the WorldWideWeb project, in 1991. Simple Web browsers like Mosaic appeared a short time later and, before long, the Web had become by far the most popular system of its kind.

The creation and globalization of the web is widely considered one of the most transformational events in human history.

Additional Reading & Sources:
The Birth of the Web (CERN)
World Wide Web Launches (The History Channel)
World Wide Web (Wikipedia)

Computer History Museum