TORONTO – Back in November 2007 a Twitter account was started with a lofty goal in mind – to tweet every world in the English language. Over 109,000 tweets later, that goal is nearly complete.
@Everyword will tweet for the last time in the early hours of June 7.
The account, which has garnered over 98,000 followers over the years, was created by computer programmer and poet Adam Parrish as a way to make fun of Twitter’s 140-character text limit.
“I was a Twitter skeptic. The way I saw it, people were posting meaningless things, totally out of context. I wanted to satirize the brevity of Twitter messages,” he said in an interview with the Guardian.
“But now I see Twitter differently. It’s kind of a magical writing experiment, and it’s amazing that so many people participate.”
@Everyword is run by a Python script that auto-tweets the next word on an alphabetical list of 109,229 words every half hour. But the list isn’t very official; Parrish used a list of English words he found on the Internet.
That being said, the account hasn’t technically tweeted every word in the English language – nor has it tweeted every word in the Oxford dictionary, which has over 170,000 words.
“One of the purposes of @everyword is to raise the question of whether it’s possible to have a canonical list of the English language. To me, the obvious answer is no,” Parrish told the Guardian.
“We come up with new words all the time. We have rules about what can and cannot be words and linguists don’t know where to draw the line anymore.”
The account also suffers from repetitive tweeting; for example it once tweeted “nudism,” “nudist,” “nudists,” and “nudity” over the course of two hours. More recently it spent three hours sending out variations of the word “yappy.”
Poll: What is the best @everyword tweet?
Some of the words require a quick Google search to understand, too.
On Tuesday @everyword tweeted was “zidovudine” – a type of antiretroviral drug used to treat HIV/AIDS. Many of the “x” words were obscure too, such as “xanthochromism” – an unusual yellow pigmentation found in animals.
The account’s most retweeted words are much more simple – “sex,” “weed,” and “vagina.”
Parrish has not revealed what the account’s last word will be.
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