Dickson holds a long established record in the Guimess Book of World Records for the largest collection of synonyms ever assembled.His list of 2,241 synonyms for the "drunken state" earned him that title. Since then his collection expanded and in 2009 he published his annotated list of 2,964 in the book Drunk: The Definitive Drinker's Dictionary.
The Dickson / Zelig File: People who Dickson has met socially or professionally include J. Edgar Hoover, Jack Kerouac, Tug McGraw, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Vonnegot, John Cage and Tip O'Neill, among others.
Took his first computer course in 1959 and his first job out of college was in the field of data processing.
Dickson long ago memorized the last line on the standard Snellen eye chart (PEZOLCFTD) and as a child learned to say the name of a brook in Sherman, Connecticut (Naromiyocknowhusunkatankshunk)
Dickson believes he may have set a record for authoring or co-authoring books with one word titles: Words, Names, Jokes, Toasts, Slang, Journalese, and Drunk.
Dickson's e-mail address Newdefiner@gmail.com (formerly Newdefiner@aol.com) dates back many years to when he was working as a consultant at Merriam-Webster and was part of a group working on creating a dictionary for a fledgling outfit known as American Online.
Blurbs for Paul Dickson
"A national treasure who deserves a wide audience." —Library Journal
"A one-man book factory" The Washington Post.
"He is a good, serious, funny man. And he marches to the music of typewriter with as as much joy as anyone in Washington.—The Washingtonian magazine.
"Paul Dickson is a free spirited freelance writer collects facts and words with what he calls the seal the borders on the compulsive."—Writing magazine.
"Paul Dickson's books are a feast."—The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
"Paul Dickson could be called the Energizer bunny of authors …One of the amazing attributes of this prolific writer is that he can't be pigeonholed: his subject matter is always changing."—Public Libraries magazine.
A Collection of Words coined by Paul Dickson.
Demonym. n. 1. [from Greek demos "the people" or "populace" + -nym "name"] A name commonly given to the residents of a place. The names Briton, Midwesterner, Liverpudlian, Arkansawyer, and Parisienne are all demonyms. 2. An adjective of residence. It may be the same as the noun (Haitian) or it may be different (Swede for the noun, Swedish for the adjective).
( This is my biggest success as a neologizer has been the word demonym. It was created to fill a void in the language. I have used the term in several articles and books and was pleased In April 2013 the term was used by the American nonfiction master John McPhee in The New Yorker. It seems that he collects books on American place names and demonym has become part of his natural vocabulary. Presently (October, 2020) the word got more than 700,000 hits when entered as a Google search word. ) A full account of the creation of this term appears in my book Labels for Locals.)
McWord. Coined in 1983 by Dickson in his book Words to describe "[a]n awkwardly pretentious mix of languages or traditions — Miss Piggy's use of moi, the name of Wayne Newton's mansion (Casa Shenandoah), and Scots-Irish-surnamed food (McMuffin, McChicken, etc.)", but the term has since been re-analysed by others to refer to those buzzwords co-opting the Mc- prefix that connote "the quick, cheap, and superficial" (See "At a Loss for McWords" See here.
Word Word. Simply a word which is repeated to distinguish it from an identical word or name, such as "mail mail," for that which is sent through the postal service, or "grass grass," for distinguishing the stuff of lawns from marijuana. The proper name for word word is "contrastive focus reduplication," but word word is leaving it in the dust and now appears in the Oxford Companion to the English Language and other reference published reference works.