You can’t make this up

The Futility Closet asks a very interesting question: at what point does a fake word become real? Expanded upon by Boingboing:

Publishers of reference material sometimes add false or trap information as a way to catch others who steal their material. Mailing lists often include trap addresses to catch people who rent mailing lists and use them more than once without paying for multiple uses. Maps sometimes add fake streets. Old books of logarithmic tables included intentionally wrong numbers (crazy!). Online trivia contests ask fake questions with searchable fake answers on shill websites to catch cheaters who use the web to look up answers. And dictionaries include made-up words…The 2001 edition of the New Oxford American Dictionary contains a fake word, esquivalience, defined as “the willful avoidance of one’s official responsibilities; the shirking of duties.”

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