Today is International Woman’s Day, and that seems as good an opportunity as any to take a quick look at the women who are currently most quoted in the Oxford English Dictionary. It is the OED’s policy to include illustrative quotations for all senses covered in the Dictionary. Anybody can have a look at the thousand most popular sources and from that list we have picked out the ten most popular women and showcased some of the words for which they are quoted in the OED. These women – all of whom were poets and novelists - had an astonishing impact on the English language, and for that, among many other reasons, we celebrate them today.
1. George Eliot
Words include: chintzy, nattering, insurgence
2. Fanny Burney
Words include: grumpy, keepsake, unamusing
3. Harriet Martineau
Words include: isolation, bus, avoidably
4. Jane Austen
Words include: door-bell, irrepressible, sponge-cake
5. Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Words include: inauthentic, serfdom, uncomprehending
6. Mary Braddon
Words include: apoplectically, tight-lipped, amateurish
7. Charlotte Yonge
Words include: creepy-crawly, squeaky, inexpensiveness
8. Maria Edgeworth
Words include: argh, divorcee, electioneer
9. Charlotte Brontë
Words include: companionless, timbre, Wild West
10. Ann Radcliffe
Words include: allsorts, chivalric, unchilled
So, I was trying to spell
horderve h’orduerve h’orderve in an email and finally gave up and wrote finger foods. Does that make me a bad person?
For the record it’s spelled hors d’oeuvre. Some day I will learn how to spell it correctly without the aid of the ODO.