D is for Dictionary

I am in love with my new Compact Oxford English Dictionary.

My husband got me a dictionary for Christmas. Unlike most people, I actually find this thrilling.

It’s not just any dictionary, either: It’s the compact edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, which is basically a leather-bound tome the height of my torso and the weight of a small elephant (or two). It doesn’t merely contain definitions; it also has etymologies and the first recorded use of each word.

While other, more normal people were spending Christmas morning enjoying their new electronics or necklaces or clothes or what-have-you, I was kicking it old school, feverishly crouched over my OED’s tiny type with my reading glass to look up words. On my first day, I flipped to “peep,” “mollycoddle,” “book,” “esculent,” “harper,” “dojo,” “dictionary,” “salsify,” and “bobby-dazzler.” In one especially excellent moment, Hubby told me to go “look something up” and I literally opened the book to a page-long definition of the word “something.”

I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions, but my OED has inspired me to make it a goal to strengthen my vocabulary this year by looking up at least one random word a day. (It has also inspired me to annoy the heck out of household guests with my overzealous definition-sharing, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Some women want jewelry; I want words.

Article © 2013 by Molly E. Weeks