Friday, May 09, 2008

dic-tio-nary (from dictio: word)

I bought a couple of these the other day and they just arrived. Mine were getting a bit old, as dictionaries and writers go, so they are in the process of being passed on to the deserving.

Actually, my Merriam-Webster desk dictionary is still quite good (2003), but a friend’s is a 1951 edition and woefully out of date. She, herself, is a 1960 edition and so is using a reference book for a changing language that was published nine years before her. She will get my 2003 and what I just bought, the 2007 update, goes on my shelf. Four years makes a difference to me; anything newer than fifty-seven years is just great for her.

Then there’s the case of my Merriam-Webster unabridged. I’m sure you have at least one around the house; everybody should. I have seven, almost every edition they issued since Noah Webster published his. But, for just daily use, I have my grandfather’s Second Edition, which I grew up with, and my own Third Edition which came out in 1961 and updated in 1975. That’s been a while – twenty-eight years, to be exact. Which is why Amazon is such a good place when you are looking for recent editions of books for, shall I say, cheap prices. I managed to get the 2000 edition for what I consider a fire-sale cost.

The old 1975 Unabridged, now no longer needed, will be given to someone who will appreciate and respect it. As I said to one of our profs who might know a candidate, I don’t want it used as something the recipient will use to hold his coffee mug. My atlas is renewed every ten years for the same need and on the same basis.


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