Lexicography: Words That Sizzled

Wilfred J. Funk was born to words. He reveled in them, ranked them and made a small fortune from them. A lifelong lexicographer, he was a tireless missionary for the English language, and by the time he died at 83 last week, he had succeeded in converting many others to his cherished belief: "It pays to increase your word power."

Funk made the entire nation self-conscious about its vocabulary. For 20 years he turned out a monthly column on vocabulary building for the Reader's Digest, and he wrote innumerable books: 30 Days to...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!