tender age shelter
. . .
These are just a few examples of the distinctive and newly prominent vocabulary used by both sides in the current debate over immigration to the U.S. They are entries for the second edition of Barnhart’s Never-Finished Political Dictionary of the 21st Century, researched and written by David Barnhart, an independent lexicographer from a lexicographical family. (His father was the well-known Clarence Barnhart, 1900-1993).
The first edition, aptly called “Election-Day Edition,” was published in November 2016, on the cusp of the American electorate’s decision to make Trumpdom a reality in the White House, at least for the next four years. For the NFPD, this means keeping up by constant attention to publications like The New York Times, as well as Barnhart’s hometown newspaper, the Poughkeepsie Journal, and other print and electronic sources, to catch new political terms to add to the more than 900 entries in the Election-Day Edition.
In the Trump era, new vocabulary comes so fast that only the internet can allow one to keep up. The first edition of Never-Finished is 228 pages long, with more than 900 entries. So far, in just two more years since the first, Never-Finished-2 has 569 pages and may approach 3,000 entries, including the ones listed above.
The special virtue of the Never-Finished Dictionary is the number and richness of the citations showing the words in context, amounting to at least 50 words and often 100. The entries are so full that there is barely room here to include one typical example:
catch and release policy, Also written catch-and-release policy. a strategy used by immigration officials to arrest (a person, especially an illegal immigrant) and release with a subpoena to appear in court. Compare “zero tolerance.” Standard (used in informal contexts dealing especially with U.S. immigration; frequency?)
In April, Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, introduced a “zero-tolerance” policy that meant all adults caught crossing the border illegally were to be detained and prosecuted — as opposed to being released while they await proceedings. Their children are then removed and held in separate facilities.
Trump has been very critical of what he called the “catch and release” policy. Nick Allen, “‘Unconscionable’; Trump defends U.S. border protection policies in the face of rising global outrage,” The Calgary Herald [Alberta] (Nexis), June 19, 2018, p NP1
Harris said his goal was “to close the loopholes” of the catch-and-release policy and bolster family facilities in the border region. The Baltimore Sun asked again whether he supported the policy of separating children from parents. Jeff Barker, “Harris calls for changes at border,” The Baltimore Sun (Nexis), June 19, 2018, p A12
1996? Semantic shifting (specialization): formed from catch and release (theory) (DC File: 1920, but presumed to be earlier), meaning “reeling in a fish or trap a wild animal, with the intention of releasing it back into the wild.”
The Never-Finished Political Dictionary-2 is still very much a work in progress. Barnhart is not sure when it will be ready from the publishing house he founded, Lexik House, but it will be announced on that website.
Meanwhile the Election-Day Edition is still available from that publisher.
And yes, Never-Finished is up to date on the vocabulary of American politics but is still published only on paper.