Don’t be reviled; deliver ‘levidrome,’ dictionaries urged

One year ago today, a video was posted asking people to share a new word coined by Oak Bay youngster Levi Budd so that dictionaries would list it; 365 days and more than 40,000 views later, the effort continues.

“We would be thrilled if it makes its way into the dictionary,” said father Robert (Lucky) Budd. “We set out a goal and it would be really amazing to reach it.”

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Levi, now a Grade 3 student at St. Michaels University School, created the word “levidrome” for a word that spells another backward — such as loop and pool.

As one might expect from a child, Levi named the word after himself and combined it with the word palindrome — which spells the same word backward and forward such as madam or kayak.

Since then, the now seven-year-old’s word has been used around the world on beer labels, in songs and classrooms, as well as in print, television and social media. It has appeared in newspapers in South Africa, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, India, Spain and Singapore.

Wide use of a word is a major criteria for getting it into dictionaries.

Levidrome has been referenced in the New York Times and in May, Esquire magazine cited its momentum for getting into the Merriam-Webster or Oxford dictionaries with support from the likes of Canadian actor William Shatner.

Shatner, who played Star Trek Capt. James T. Kirk, has used the word several times in the last year and petitioned Oxford Dictionaries via his Twitter account to add Levi’s word.

Canadian musicians Tegan and Sara have highlighted it and Vancouver Island singer Lola Parks has sung it.

The craft beer community has picked up on the word.

There’s a Levidrome Lager by Malmo Brewing in Malmo, Sweden and a Levidrome Belgum IPA in Chicago.

This summer, Victoria craft brewery Phillips Brewing & Malting Co. launched a time-limited heady ale called Levidrome and used a levidrome in describing it: “Regal Lager”.

Oxford says levidrome needs to be in regular, everyday common use to get it into the Oxford Dictionary. In November 2017, the Oxford Dictionaries team posted a video in which Rebecca Juganaru, senior assistant editor for Oxford Dictionaries, told Levi: “Levidrome is well on its way into our dictionary. … 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.”

Levi, who has a fascination with words, created the word after he saw a traffic stop sign. He asked his mother and consulted a printed dictionary to find a word for the phenomenon. There was no such word so he coined one himself. His father posted a video on Oct. 9, 2017 asking people to use and share the word.

Budd, who works for CBC Radio and collaborates on books with artist Roy Henry Vickers, is happy that the word engages children and adults in their love of reading and vocabulary.

“I am so happy that so many people have been having such a good time playing with language since this whole thing started,” said Budd.

Budd said he and his wife started the exercise as one of initiative, believing that kids learn more from what we do than what we say.

“Levi had a great idea,” said Budd, “and we wanted to show him that if you have a great idea you can do something about it. We had no idea it would be so far reaching.”

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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