My Dictionary Sucks

by RS on October 23, 2010

After yesterday’s post on lexicon, I went to Borders and bought two pretty, blank notebooks (and a book on American labor history, that’s for another post) and was ready to sit down and start my lexicon notebook. What better way to begin but to randomly open a page in the dictionary, and find a word that I could embrace. My first attempt produced nothing, nor did my second, third, fourth, or fifth! It was a disheartening discovery to realize that I own, essentially, a useless dictionary that’s compiled more for the ordinary, unimaginative writer and not for one who wants to add more panache and zing to her prose.

What to do? Priscilla Long actually has a dictionary recommendation: Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, Unabridged, with the 1934 copyright. Why that one? Apparently the 1935 edition chucked out 100,000 words. So imagine how many words what Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition, must be missing?

I went ahead and ordered a Josefa Heifitz The Word Lover’s Dictionary: Unusual, Obscure, and Preposterous Words so I can have it as a reference, and I will continue my search for my own 1934 copy of Webster’s New International Dictionary. Otherwise, I am at the mercy of what I read and, hopefully, I can add any savory word I come across to my lexicon book.

On that note, it’s time spend the entire week reading, writing, and sniffing out new words.

3 comments
Myra
Myra

Rebecca, I subscribe to three different word-a-day posts. I often find interesting
words.

Ardee-ann
Ardee-ann

Excellent blog post, language is such an art and we have become so "dumbed down." I am glad to hear of someone else looking for new words and using them in their works/conversations.

Deep Peace,

Ardee-ann

Previous post:

Next post: