VICTORIA – An editor at Oxford Dictionaries in the United Kingdom has sent an encouraging response to a six-year-old Victoria boy who created a buzz by inventing a word.
Levi Budd came up with levidrome to define a word that forms a different word when spelled backwards, such as rats from star and wolf from flow.
His father posted a YouTube video five weeks ago to explain that Levi started with the word stop and discovered it becomes pots and then came up with levidrome to define the feat of flipping words.
Actor William Shatner saw the video and appealed to Oxford Dictionaries on Twitter after the family had already been in touch with Merriam-Webster, which replied that a word has to be commonly used before it can be added to its dictionary.
An Oxford editor has now responded to the word inventor via video: “Levi, there are many new words every year, some very clever ones and some very useful ones. We don’t add all of these words to our dictionary. We’d never sleep if we did. Instead, we only add the words that get used by a lot of people for a long time.”
The editor, who was introduced in the video as Rebecca, said plenty of people are uttering levidrome early into Levi’s campaign, which is “really impressive.”
“We have a list of all the words we want to keep an eye on and levidrome is on that list. In a year or so if lots of people are still using your word it might well get into our dictionary,” she said.
Levidrome is the first word featured on Oxford’s Weekly Word Watch.
Lucky Budd said his son was amazed that someone from Oxford addressed him directly in the video.
“He loves the dictionary,” Budd said Friday of his curious son, who started reading at age three and regularly visits the local library. “He was really touched.”
Retired Olympic triathlon champion Simon Whitfield of Victoria is also a fan of levidrome and is appealing to Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds to get in on the levidrome action, tweeting: “Loop is pool, pool is loop backwards, that’s a levidrome.”
On Thursday, Shatner sent another tweet containing 18 levidromes: “I am now happy to deliver and debut a recap on the dream of a smart boy who took at stab at what he saw in words,” he began, urging followers not to “stop so Levi will nab his just desserts and reward.”
Levidrome has already been added to Merriam-Webster’s open-source dictionary of user-submitted words and the online Urban Dictionary.
— By Camille Bains in Vancouver, follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.