“Blurb”—Publishing Jargon Invented to Make Fun of Itself

From a Wall Street Journal column by Ben Zimmer headlined “‘Blurb’: Publishing Jargon Invented to Make Fun of Itself”:

Linguist and lexicographer Ben Zimmer analyzes the origins of words in the news.

The publishing industry has a problem, and it goes by a peculiar five-letter name: “blurb.”

Blurbs, those laudatory bits of promotional text adorning book jackets (and these days, Amazon book pages) have come under fire lately. Last month, in an article in The Atlantic titled, “The Blurb Problem Keeps Getting Worse,” Helen Lewis wrote that “the pursuit of ever more fawning praise from luminaries has become absurd.” Sophie Vershbow went even further in a recent piece for Esquire, decrying book publishing’s reliance on high-profile blurbs as “a rigged system long overdue for a change.”