From this week’s “THE WORD” column in The Boston Globe, by Wordnik founder Erin McKean:
You can get an intriguing look at our cultural obsessions by surveying the words supposedly expunged from the personal dictionaries of famous people. There’s Pope Benedict XVI: On the occasion of his first visit to the United States in 2008, The New York Times’ Pope blog said that “political correctness is not in his dictionary.” There’s Chairman Mao: “The word regret was not in his dictionary,” according to “The Private Life of Chairman Mao,” by Li Zhisui, who was Mao’s private physician for more than 20 years. And P.T. Barnum, in his “Struggles and Triumphs: Forty Years’ Recollections,” chastises his manager and son-in-law for being less than enthusiastic about some of Barnum’s plans with “have I not told you often enough, the word can’t is not in my dictionary?”
Read the full column here.