|My secondary school made us read dictionaries as a punishment. Seriously. Talk about rewarding bad behaviour!|
Photo by Caleb Roenigk
Noun. Early 16th century.
[medieval Latin dictionarium and dictionarius), from Latin dictio(n)-.]
1(a) A book explaining or translating, usually in alphabetical order, words of a language or languages,
giving their pronunciation, spelling, meaning, part of speech, and etymology, or one or some of these. E16
1(b) obsolete. The vocabulary or whole list of words used or admitted by someone. L16-E18
1(c) An ordered list stored in and used by a computer; especially a list of words acceptable to a word processor. M20
2 A book of information or reference on any subject in which the entries are arranged alphabetically. M17
3 figurative. A person or thing regarded as a repository of knowledge, convenient for consultation. E17
|The smallest dictionary I own|
(and one of my favourites)
I've loved dictionaries for as long as I can remember. As a child and into my twenties, I was in the habit of always carrying a dictionary around with me, just in case I came across a word I didn't know. At my wedding, my best man gave a speech in which he said he hoped a dictionary would fall on my head; later that night, he tried to sneak into my room to take the Collins Dictionary I had stashed in my luggage, lest I take a dictionary with me on my honeymoon. Yes, I really like dictionaries, and it seems I've developed a bit of a reputation for it.
For anyone that's unconvinced about the beauty of a dictionary (and I do get a lot of unconvinced looks when explaining my love), I would encourage, nay, challenge you to sit down with a good dictionary and read it for twenty minutes. It doesn't even matter which dictionary. Obviously I'm rather loyal to the Oxford English Dictionary, but there are numerous quality dictionaries out there: Collins, Merriam-Webster and Chambers to cite a few of my favourites. Sit down, take that time, and read it. Perhaps you could look up that word or phrase you've always wondered about. Why do we say someone is about to get their just deserts? If one can be disgruntled, can one also be gruntled? Or, like me, you could just relax and read away, allowing the pages to lead you wherever they may go. However you approach it, I've no doubt that you will be pleasantly surprised, and maybe ... just maybe ... you'll get hooked like me.
|My desk. Looking unusually tidy. And with only two of my dictionaries present.|
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