So today I was looking through my firefox search bar’s history, and along with things like “how to raise your iq by eating gifted children” (it’s a book apparently) and “fraught with all manner of spiky-haired cute things” (no results, this page will be the first), I found ‘quercivorous nepheliad’.
And of course, I immediately recognized what I was doing when I searched for that: “Hey, it’s a googlewhack! I wonder if it still works.”
So I tried it, and it almost worked, except the passage it was written in had been quoted a bunch of times. But I also noticed that google suggested “quercivorus” instead of “quercivorous”.
Obvious choice of action, test it out and see which one gets more search results. Which I do, and see quercivorus gets 500 results, and quercivorous gets 15300. And wow! My blog is at the top of the results for quercivorous! That’s awesome! But wait… these look like mostly just word lists… the results for quercivorus looked a lot more scholarly… yeah, they do. And oh… 15100ish of the 15300 are all one site.
GAAH. I misspelled my own favorite word, and it’s at the top of google’s results for it to boot.
So I went and edited my post. Made a note about my misspelling it, and corrected the spelling for the future, in hopes of google putting me back high in the rankings for the right spelling.
But just before submitting, I thought to myself “I wish I had my OED, so I could check what it says.” Of course, I don’t, because no one brings their OED to college with them, at least, not anyone studying computer science.
But maybe the library has one. So I walk over there, and yes, it does! And then I look it up… And it says I was right all along! It really is spelled quercivorous! Yes!
A bit more research shows that there are 4 species (probably of insect) named Something quercivorus. Removing those, there are practically no results. I cancel the edit to my old post and write this one.
The moral of the story: The OED may not know everything. But in its niche, it’s smarter than even google.