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The end of an era – and the dictionary

On June 7th, Twitter account @everyword posted the word ‘étui’. The noun is a word historically used to describe an ornamental case for cosmetics and needles, and it brings a seven-year crusade to try and tweet every single word in the English language to a close.

Everyword has made 109,160 tweets since it started in November 2007. It has never provided dictionary definitions of any word. Just one word per tweet, one tweet every half hour, for years and years. The pickiest word-lovers on Twitter have pointed out that it’s not quite managed every word – even before the account finished tweeting, the Oxford English Dictionary had reached around 170,000 words.

This isn’t the end of the account, though, as there are plans to restart with ‘season 2’ and a more recent wordlist. The next run-through is likely to take weeks or even months longer than the first.

Interestingly for an account that does nothing but share one word at a time, the account has gathered almost 101,000 followers. It’s never interacted with others on Twitter and follows only 12 accounts – most of them being different ‘every’ bots similarly tweeting words, letters, numbers and phrases.

Many brands and companies meticulously plan and consider every tweet in an attempt to create more engagement, but the popularity of Everyword shows that sometimes the concept is as important as the content.

We work with words – every copywriter does – and the idea’s certainly an intriguing one. The creator of the account, Adam Parrish, has already explained it’s a way of showing how consistently fluid and changing the English language is. Tweeting every word is nigh on impossible, as by the time you reach the end there’ll always be more new additions to the language that were missed.

And, when asked what his own favourite word was out of over 109,000, he admitted to having a preference for ‘the’. Here, we quite like ‘queue’, ‘juggle’ and ‘delicious’.

If you’re ever stuck for the right word, ask us.

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