“SET” UPSET.

It has long been a fixture of my mental furnishings that the longest entry in the OED was for the verb set. I don’t know how many times I’ve trotted out this bit of trivia, but I’ll have to try not to do it any more, because I learn from the Revisions page of the OED newsletter that it is no longer true, and has not been for some years: “For many years the verb to set has been cited as the longest entry in the OED. But a recheck shows that it has at last been toppled from this position. The longest entry in the revised matter is represented by the verb to make (published in June 2000).” However, they reassure me that “it is quite possible that set will regain its long-held position at the top of the league of long words when it comes itself to be revised.” If you’re curious, and I know you are, “the longest entries currently in the online Third Edition of the OED are: make (verb – revised), set (verb), run (verb), take (verb), go (verb), pre- (revised), non- (revised), over- (revised), stand (verb), red, and then point (the noun – revised).”

Comments

  1. The longest noun is point, of all things? Well thanks for that titbit.

  2. is ‘titbit’ in the OED? because if it isn’t, it should be.

  3. Of course it is and has been for years! Although in North America more likely to be known as ‘tidbit’. I was surprised that ‘red’ was so high up the rankings; would have thought that ‘black’ or ‘white’ would have been above ‘red’.

  4. Yes, the OED spelling is tit-bit or tid-bit, with a hyphen. There are those who think that the form tid-bit is a latterday genteelism, given the presence of tit in what is erroneously supposed to be the earlier form.

  5. The old LH favorite prepone is on the list of March additions, though it seems from the earlier comments here that it was online last year at least in part.

  6. Perhaps the “set” setback is just a setup to get you upset, LH.

  7. i… was making a joke that now strikes me as horribly embarrassing, but apparently the OED has beaten my ignorance to the punch. touché, OED. touché.

  8. i… was making a joke that now strikes me as horribly embarrassing, but apparently the OED has beaten my ignorance to the punch. touché, OED. touché.

  9. “It has long been a fixture of my mental furnishings that the longest entry in the OED was for the verb set.”
    Oh woe! In mine too, since I was a child of nine.
    It’s strangely saddening news. I’d really thought set’s place was set for all my life.

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