Wordnik at ALA San Francisco

Library Photography Competition 2011 entry

We here at Wordnik love libraries and librarians (and not just because the American Library Association adopted the words library and librarian). How much? So much that we’ll be holding our next meetup at ALA San Francisco at the end of this month!

Originally scheduled for the evening of June 30, we’re now meeting up at the conference on Monday, June 29, 10 AM, in the Moscone Convention Center. (Specific room to follow soon.)

If you’ll be attending ALA and are curious about Wordnik and what we do, as well as other online and offline lexical resources, we’d love to see you. There will also be snacks and  stickers, and you’ll have the chance to enter a raffle for some cool prizes.

Can’t make it? No worries: join the Bay Area Wordnik Meetup group and you’ll keep up to date with all of our upcoming activities.

Hope to see you soon!

[Photo via Flickr: “Library Photography Competition 2011 entry,” CC BY 2.0 by Loughborough University Library]

Wordniks Meet Up


Last Thursday Wordnik had its very first meet-up!

It was great to meet some Wordnik-enthusiasts in person, to hear about their projects (for example, a bot that trolls people who tweet the hashtag #disrupt with a foghorn — now that’s #disruptive), and to play a mean round of Snatch-It (think Scrabble on steroids).

So what’s next? Find out below.

The librarians are coming!

Our next meet-up will be held the evening of June 30 to coincide with the fabulous American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference which is happening right here in the City by the Bay.

Any librarian attending ALA who comes to the June Wordnik meet-up will get a sweet Wordnik notebook. Plus, stickers and snacks for everyone!

Would you like to play a game?

For our July 27 meet-up we invite word game creators and word game players alike for an evening of playtesting (and snacks of course).

Twitterbots for everyone!

You might already know Boston-based developer Darius Kazemi has used the Wordnik API to generate twitterbots like Metaphor-a-Minute — now it’s your turn! Come with your own computer (and maybe an idea or two) to build your very own Wordnik API-based twitterbot. Perhaps you can troll someone too.

Have an idea for a meet-up?

Let us know in the comments! Also, keep up on all upcoming events by joining the Bay Area Wordnik group.

Hope to see you all soon.

Word Buzz Wednesday: bookface, dadbod, frexting

Bookface - Geek Girl

Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, in which we round up our favorite buzzworthy words of the week. The latest: of faces, bods, and friendly texts.


“The best bookfaces are carefully planned and staged. Ray Delara, a library assistant in Burlingame and the photographer behind the triple-bookface post, takes the endeavor seriously.”

Rachel Kramer Bussel, “Oh, Those Clever Librarians and Their #Bookface,” The New York Times, May 1, 2015

Bookface photos involve “strategically lining up your face or another body part alongside a book cover that features a matching body part so that there appears a melding of life and art.” A triple-bookface incorporates three different people posing with three different books in one photo.

Although The New York Times says the bookface hashtag was started by NYPL information architect Morgan Holzer in August 2014, we found many older uses in Flickr.

Other –face blends often used as hashtags include quakeface, duckface, and rageface.


“Fratbod leads to dadbod, I feel. All those brews add up.”

The Cut, “What Is the ‘Dadbod’? What Does It Mean?” New York Magazine, April 30, 2015

Dadbod is, as The Cut says, “a physique characterized by undefined muscles beneath a light layer of flab, usually topped off with a beer belly.” The term was apparently coined by a sophomore at Clemson University in South Carolina, and joins other parent-lingo such as Mom jeans, Dad jeans, and MILF.


“It is the latest in a series of synthetic drugs that include Ecstasy and bath salts, but officials say flakka is even easier to obtain in small quantities through the mail.”

Curt Anderson, “Flakka, Synthetic Drug Behind Increasingly Bizarre Crimes,” AP, April 30, 2015

Flakka is a designer synthetic drug along the lines of Ecstasy and Molly. The word flakka is “a derivative of the Spanish word for a thin, pretty woman,” says AP, and  “is usually sold in a crystal form and is often smoked using electronic cigarettes, which are popular with young people and give off no odor.”


“Elizabeth Schulte, one of Kelly’s frexting friends, is comfortable sending sexy selfies to her girlfriends, but not her fiance. Because with men, the contract is different.”

Alana Levinson, “Girl, Send Me a Frext,” Medium, April 30, 2015

A frext is a sext sent between friends, usually female.

Like lumbersexual, frext is sort of blend of a blend, where the meaning at face value is different than the term’s actual meaning. In other words, lumbersexual should mean someone who’s sexually attracted to lumberjacks (or lumber for that matter), just as heterosexuals are attracted to those of the opposite sex (hetero-). Instead lumbersexual plays off metrosexual, and refers to a man who’s stylish in a beardy, plaidy way.

Frext at face value should mean a text from a friend or a friendly text, blending friend and text. Instead it blends friend and sext, which is itself a blend of sex and text.


“The title of that critical analyst note was a word that expressed infinite disappointment: ‘Ungood.’”

Seth Fiegerman, “‘Ungood’: Analysts show infinite disappointment with lame Twitter revenue,” Mashable, April 29, 2015

Ungood, which means, rather obviously, “not good” or “bad,” has been around since the second century, says the Oxford English Dictionary. It may have regained popularity in the 1940s with George Orwell’s 1984, in which ungood is an example of euphemistic Newspeak.

[Photo via Flickr: “Bookface – Geek Girl,” CC BY 2.0 by Harry (Howard) Potts]

Beautiful Libraries

A little Friday fantasia: in September of 2007 Curious Expeditions collected dozens of pictures of stunning old libraries in a post titled Librophiliac Love Letter: A Compendium of Beautiful Libraries, which was just sent to me by my old pal Magnolia. They’re incredible.

I’ve spent my entire life surrounded either by clean-lined modernism or an almost equally spare New England aesthetic, and it’s startling to be reminded that baroque and rococo (barococo?) confections like this were ever built, let alone on this scale and in such profusion. Likewise, information is now so ubiquitous, and incorporeal, and cheap, it’s jolting to think of a time when it was rare, and heavy, and expensive, and so justified the building of palaces like this to contain it.

Curious Expeditions says they’ll leave it to someone else to post a list of beautiful modern libraries, like Louis Kahn’s library at Exeter. If anyone knows of one, please let us know in the comments.

Best Library Ever

It’s a bit rococo, possibly even tacky, but I love Jay Walker’s library. Sputnik? Check. Enigma machine? Check. An amazing assortment of medieval books on science and natural history, along with originals of the Kelmscott Chaucer, Nuremberg Chronicle, and Coverdale Bible, all mixed in with cheesy Franklin Press reprints?
Yes, yes, yes, and, oddly, yes. This is heaven, as envisioned by a bookish 15 year old.

Thanks to Magnolia (and her research assistant, Arlo) for the link.

Library Carts As Bookcases

Our new apartment, unlike our old, doesn’t have built-in bookcases. We were trying to decide between making or buying a bunch of plain vanilla wooden bookcases when kad had a stroke of genius: library carts, aka book trucks. Librarians use them to reshelve books, but no reason they can’t be the shelves.

We ordered a few standard-issue flat shelf carts from Vernon Library Supplies, though they’re also available with slanted shelves and in various other configurations. In addition to Vernon, School Outfitters and Brodart also have a bunch of different models.