Education: Made in U.S.A.

No matter how hard he tries, scholarly Dr. Mitford M. Mathews can never remember much about what he reads; he is too busy covering slips of paper with odd words that catch his eye. Over the past 25 years, he has jotted down 50,000 of them and filed them away for future reference. This week U.S. readers with $50 to spare will have a chance to judge the result: Lexicographer Mathews' two-volume Dictionary of Americanisms, the first dictionary of words coined by Americans.

Unlike the Oxford Dictionary of American English, which set out to...

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