I love language. My love for it compels me to study it constantly; it compelled me to become an editor. But I hadn’t realized how much of a passion I had for it until a couple of months ago when I talked to the dictionary.
It’s interesting, when I think of a dictionary as an old, unchangeable tome, to find that it really is a living and breathing entity. I use Merriam-Webster as a matter of course when I edit, because it’s associated with the Chicago Manual of Style, which I also rely on. So when I looked up the word “nocked” on Merriam-Webster online for a client, I was confused to find it wasn’t there. “Nock” was, but the conjugations were absent. So I wrote to them. And half an hour later, they replied with this:
Thanks for your email. Our online dictionary is based very loosely on one of our printed dictionaries, and it still maintains a few print-based conventions (though we’re doing our best to work through them). One of them is that participial adjectives like “nocked” that clearly derive from the verb and which have the same meaning core as the verb are covered by the participle, and therefore the verb. “Nocked,” then, would mean “having a nock or notch” or “fitted against a bowstring.”
I hope this is helpful. Thanks for writing.
Lee Goodrich, Editorial Department
I admit, I fangirled a bit.
This post is brought to you by Just Jot it January, and in particular, prompted by the word, “passionate,” provided by Rosemary! Thank you so much, Rosemary! You can find Rosemary’s JusJoJan post by clicking right here. Please go and say hi! To participate in the prompt, please visit this post, where you’ll find the rules and you can leave your link in the comments.