I just noticed that the word implementational is not listed in any of the major online dictionaries (such as Oxford or Merriam-Webster). Why is this word not listed and is it thus bad practice to use this word for e.g. scientific papers? Google shows over 120,000 hits, many of those in scientific publications.

Here is a book chapter that uses this word extensively.

  • 2
    What would be an example sentence? – Bella Pines Feb 13 '17 at 16:48
  • @IsobellaPines That's why I put the google results. There are plenty of sample sentences. – Adrian Feb 13 '17 at 16:50
  • @adjan Googling the internet is not a reliable reference. This is a new word that nobody ever used until recently, probably because it is ponderously long. Please see the Ngram record in print works. It does occur in scholarly texts but appears not to be found in fiction; make of that what you will. – tchrist Feb 13 '17 at 17:03

Because this is a brand new coinage that nobody ever bothered us with until recently:

ngram for implementational

It’s also because no dictionary ever enumerates all possible words produced by applying productive derivational suffixes to base words. And few spellcheckers work that way, either, even though they should.

The scattered occurrences in the historical record do not yet justify wasting limited space for something everyone knows what means.

I strongly suggest checking occurrences in Google Scholar if you want to see acceptable scholarly uses of your term. Check other corpora as well; notice how Google Ngrams reports zero occurrences of implementational in their English Fiction corpus.

Then again, the OED2 does attest to nearly two hundred words like it, many of which you surely have not yet encountered before. So I imagine they’ll eventually get around to yours, too. :)

| improve this answer | |
  • I also noticed it is being marked as wrong in text-processors like MS Word. Why, if this is just a simple rule that can be checked? – Adrian Feb 13 '17 at 17:04
  • 3
    @adjan Because few spell-checkers are smart enough to apply actual rules of productive affixes to determine is-a-word-ness blessing. Never, ever, ever trust automated spell-checkers to be smarter than actual humans. – tchrist Feb 13 '17 at 17:05
  • Well, Word actually seems to be pretty smart, as it recognizes "nonsense" compound words in my native language, German. That's why I was so surprised. "base-word + suffix" is really easier to check than three words concatenated (the concatenation may even include declension and still be marked as correct) – Adrian Feb 13 '17 at 17:08
  • @adjan It's more complicated than that, though. Not all "base-word + suffix" combinations are recognizable and correct, which is why a rule as simple as that is not accurate. – Hank Feb 13 '17 at 17:18
  • Do you mean grammatically or semantically correct? Because Word does really not care about the meaning, e.g. "Maussteckdosenheim" is correct, meaning "Home of the mouse power outlets". @Hank – Adrian Feb 13 '17 at 21:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.