You say erudite, I say pretentious -

You say erudite, I say pretentious

The New York Times is tracking all the words that people look up when they plow through stories on their website, how sui generis is that?


The New York Times ever strike you as an abstruse glut of antediluvian perorations, if the newspaper¹s profligacy of neologisms and shibboleths ever set off apoplectic paroxysms in you, if it all seems a bit recondite, here¹s a reason to be sanguine: The Times has great data on the words that send readers in search of a dictionary. Here¹s a list of the top 50.

Nieman Journalism Lab

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You say erudite, I say pretentious

  1. I'm guessing no one has to look up the meaning of "pretentious" after they've read a few NYT columns, and I'm not sure why the word "erudite" would even be relevant.

  2. people who are extra lazy will just skip words they don't understand ..i know i do

  3. "All of the 25-cent words I used in the lede of this post are on the list. The most confusing to readers, with 7,645 look-ups through May 26, is sui generis, the Latin term roughly meaning “unique” that's frequently used in legal contexts. The most ironic word is laconic (#4), which means “concise.” The most curious is louche (#3), which means “dubious” or “shady” and, as Corbett observes in his memo, inexplicably found its way into the paper 27 times over 5 months. (A Nexis search reveals that the word is all over the arts pages, and Maureen Dowd is a repeat offender.)

    How droll.

    Personally, I hate those popup features – I wonder how many were actually using it on purpose.

  4. if they like to use words that many of their readers don't know then they are pretentious ..and that's a word eveybody knows

  5. The biggest offender amongst Macleans columnists is Daniel Richler. I like having my vocabulary enriched, but when you have to go to a dictionary several times for a one-page article it gets cumbersome.