“Oh, you’re good at spelling, right? Spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
I can, in fact spell it, but the Scripps National Spelling Bee can’t ask me to do so.
But why? Isn’t that a word? Everyone knows the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
That’s where dictionary entry word criteria comes in. A great place to hear about this from someone who’s more of an expert than me is this video by Kory Stamper, former editor at Merriam-Webster, absolute lexicographic legend, and one of my favorite word nerds. Back in my baby speller era, around fifth grade when I was learning Spell It!, I loved watching her Ask The Editor videos on the Merriam-Webster website, and I’d often do that instead of studying. Also, check out her book Word By Word if you want to know even more about how dictionaries are made--it’s a fascinating inside look at the world of lexicographers. Back to dictionary criteria, though.
There are three important standards that a word has to meet in order to be entered in the dictionary: