An influential theoretical account of working memory (WM) considers that WM is based on direct activation of long-term memory knowledge. While there is empirical support for this position in the visual WM domain, direct evidence is scarce in the verbal WM domain. This question is critical for models of verbal WM, as the question of whether short-term maintenance of verbal information relies on direct activation within the long-term linguistic knowledge base or not is still debated. In this study, we examined the extent to which short-term maintenance of lexico-semantic knowledge relies on neural activation patterns in linguistic cortices, and this by using a fast encoding running span task for word and nonword stimuli minimizing strategic encoding mechanisms. Multivariate analyses showed specific neural patterns for the encoding and maintenance of word versus nonword stimuli. These patterns were not detectable anymore when participants were instructed to stop maintaining the memoranda. The patterns involved specific regions within the dorsal and ventral pathways, which are considered to support phonological and semantic processing to various degrees. This study provides novel evidence for a role of linguistic cortices in the representation of long-term memory linguistic knowledge during WM processing.