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Fillers When I use a word…


BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 06 February 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:376

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  1. Jeff Aronson, clinical pharmacologist
  1. Oxford

    Sir Edwin Ray Lankester (1847-1929), having gained first class honours in natural science at Oxford in 1868, returned in 1891 to take the Linacre chair of comparative anatomy, becoming one of the leading zoologists of his generation. Lankester's works are cited a little over 300 times in the Oxford English Dictionary — an impressive tally. For comparison, the major novels of Thomas Hardy, Lankester's almost exact contemporary, are cited about 700 times. But what distinguishes Lankester is his use of neologisms: in two thirds of the citations his is the first recorded use of the word. Sometimes he created a completely new word to describe a new phenomenon or to translate a foreign text; elsewhere he used existing words in new meanings or to derive new adjectives or verbs. The words that he is recorded as having used first include gonad, host (an …

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