My boss is leaving. He’s not REALLY leaving. He’s just going to work in a different role in the same place, but it feels like he’s packing it all in. Maybe that is because he is literally packing it all in. His office already looks like an estate sale, and he’s been kindly bestowing upon me many mementos in the form of classic works of literature.

Today he bequeathed to me the 1971 Compact Oxford English dictionary, with the presumption that it might enhance my children’s vocabularies. The double tomes weighed approximately 500 pounds. (Compact! Ha! If you heave this thing open and turn the page to “irony” you’ll see a picture of this dictionary set.) As I hefted them toward my car this afternoon, I wondered how dictionaries could be getting smaller (pocket-sized even!), even as we keep adding more and more words to it. These two volumes would not include the words “selfie,” “hashtag,” or even “internet.” (Remember when Internet had to be capitalized because it was like a proper noun, a location? Glad that’s over and done.)

The dictionary set comes with a tiny sliding drawer that contains a rectangular magnifying glass.

dictionary3Dumples and I worked together to pull one of the large books from its encasement. Now we know why this is the compact version.

I guess if the power ever goes out and we have no internet access and are playing Scrabble, I would pick this dictionary as my second-choice Scrabble dictionary (after Because aside from “wackadoo” and “ohmigosh,” this dictionary must have everything else. If you can read it.



4 responses to “define:everything

  1. So we don’t capitalize Internet anymore?

  2. At least more and more words being added to the dictionary are words we use in everyday life. Most words used in those older dictionaries were entirely decorative, a way to show off to those fancy French and Italians. I would have never thought of a book that needed its own magnifying glass, that is pretty spectacular.

  3. Never mind the word “Internet.” Is the word “computer” in there? 🙂

  4. Wow, that seems pretty useless. Anything you want you can look up online faster. I’d donate it instead of having it take up space, but then I am not much for physical books anyway. I prefer to read on my Kindle.

Pipe Up

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s