Ken Jennings


June 7, 2011

Inspired by the Merriam-Webster editors I chatted with at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in combination with hearing Sloan’s first single “Underwhelmed” on the plane home, I put together the following list of songs about looking words up in dictionaries. In case you or the lexicographer you love is ever in the mood for such a thing.

  1. “Your Dictionary” by XTC. “H-A-T-E: is that how you spell ‘love’ in your dictionary? K-I-C-K pronounced as ‘kind.’
  2. “The League of Bald-Headed Men” by the Fall. “It suppurates–look it up!”
  3. “Too Marvelous for Words” by Richard Whiting and Johnny Mercer. “You’re much too much and just too very, very to ever be in Webster’s Dictionary.”
  4. “Crash and Burn” by Robyn. “Tell me why your name is in the dictionary when I look up ‘idiot.’ “
  5. “Billy Jack Bitch” by Prince. ” ‘Joy’–it’s in the dictionary. See ‘J’.”
  6. “Banshee Beat” by Animal Collective. “Someone in my dictionary’s up to no good. I never find the very special words I should.”
  7. “Underwhelmed” by Sloan. “She was underwhelmed, if that’s a word. I know it’s not, ’cause I looked it up.”
  8. “The Saturday Boy” by Billy Bragg. “I had to look in the dictionary to find out the meaning of ‘unrequited.’ “
  9. “Is It Luck?” by Primus. “She said she wanted my body not my mind so I showed her my dictionary to show the words that I know and how loquacious I can be when I set my mind down to it.”
  10. “Description of a Fool” by A Tribe Called Quest. ” ‘Fool’: defined in Webster’s. Open up the book, read it read it. Turn the page, see what it says.”
Posted by Ken at 11:43 am