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Monday, 3 December, 2001, 10:32 GMT
Delia cooks up a place in history
Television chef Delia Smith
Delia joins Madonna and Elton (John) in the dictionary
Celebrity chef Delia Smith has found the ingredients for lasting fame by seeing her first name get in a dictionary.

The noun "Delia" was included in a new edition of the Collins English Dictionary after publishers found it had passed into everyday use.

They said a computer database of 418 million words of spoken and written English - taken from television, books, conversations and newspapers - found 700 references to "Delia".

I suppose it's because I've been around a long time

Delia Smith
The cookery writer said it was "extraordinary" to get a dictionary entry and attributed the achievement to her longevity after more than 30 years of recipes.

Among the definitions included in the dictionary are a "Delia dish", which is described as from a recipe or in the "style of cooking of British cookery writer Delia Smith".

The "Delia effect" occurs when millions seek out an ingredient or piece of equipment she has recommended - as they did when she expressed a fondness for cranberries and omelette pans.

Cookery communication

Other references include "Delia power" and "Doing a Delia".

The chef told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme she had always wanted to communicate cookery ideas to the public.

"I think it's quite extraordinary. I've been doing recipes for about 30 years now and I suppose it's because I've been around a long time.

It has become part of the language in a very special way

Jeremy Butterworth
Collins Dictionaries
"My husband had the best remark - he said it's not bad for somebody who can't spell."

Ms Smith, who has sold 14 million books and whose television programmes attract millions of viewers, first published a recipe in 1969.

Jeremy Butterworth, editorial director of Collins Dictionaries, said: "There are lots and lots of examples of the word being used on its own, and I think she is unique in that respect.

Showbusiness stars

"It is an adjective and a noun and it can be used in all sorts of different ways. It has become part of the language in a very special way."

The publishers said few other people are so well known that their first names alone merit a place in the dictionary.

Among the others to succeed are showbusiness stars Madonna and Elton (John), and royals including Princess Diana and Maggie (Thatcher).

Among the references about her discovered by the dictionary were "the anti-Delia, anti-Aga backlash" and a list of middle-class British institutions "such as the Dordogne, dishwashers, Delia Smith and dyslexia".

The BBC's Robert Nisbett
"Now, Delia is a noun"
Collins Dictionary's Jeremy Butterfield & Delia
discuss the reasoning behind her inclusion in the dictionary
See also:

12 Jul 01 | UK
Ladettes enter dictionary
14 Jun 01 | Entertainment
It's in the dictionary, d'oh!
25 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Delia lays into chefs
21 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Delia concentrates on Canaries
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