Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What's an appropriate entry?

This is something that people often ask us: "So, what is a valid entry?" They get caught up with the pressure of being an author and they don't realize that anyone, by virtue of living in a US city, is qualified to create an entry (if not a large number of them) for their city's dictionary. That's why we tell people to create entries for whatever defines their cities. We give our Citizens 20 different categories to give some guidance, but we really want their creativity to run wild.

Here are a few examples of some more subtle entries that do a great job of capturing local flavor:

I'm walkin' here: New York, New York
- This was a movie line uttered by Dustin Hoffman in the movie Midnight Cowboy. The saying is apparently valid whenever a vehicle almost runs you over while you're crossing the street.

Mock Chicken Leg: Milwaukee, Wisconsin - This is a "hot lunch" classic in the Milwaukee Public School System. Pork shaped into a flat drumstick-like concoction, which is then breaded and fried.
That reminds me--"hot lunch" in Wisconsin always meant the school lunch, versus the "cold lunch" that kids brought from home. I wonder if this terminology is used in other parts of the country.
So, there you have a few examples of the local flavor that separates City Dictionary from other city sites. Sure, we want people to put their own definitions for the more conventional entries, like restaurants and neighborhoods, but let's not stop there. These fun little subtleties are great to write about and are most useful to people trying to get acquainted with a new place.

Please keep the questions coming and I'll try to clarify things as much as possible.


Tom at City Dictionary

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