Tuesday, April 1, 2008
I actually like reading the dictionary. It's quite well written. As a father of a four-year-old inquisitor, I know how hard it is to put a word's meaning into words without actually using the word itself. In case you can't tell by the numerous links on this blog, Merriam-Webster is my favorite to read.
I don't read it cover to cover, though. I read it like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. I look up the meaning of one word only to find another fascinating word in the definition. So I look that one up and find a word I don't even know. Then I see that word has a related word in its etymology that simply must be looked up for its etymology. It's quite fun in a "what would Nancy Drew do if using words incorrectly were a crime" kind of way.
Tonight, I looked up repartee only to find that A) I had spelled it wrong, B) it demanded none of the accents ague I thought were necessary, and C) it had four possible pronunciations. Then I was caught off guard by the word adroitness. Then I discovered a phonetic mark I didn't know the meaning of, and that led me down a useless rabbit trail. But I was also interested to know that dexterous was a synonym of adroit, because I thought dexterity was more of a physical thing. But, as it turns out, its primary meaning is more about having a quick mind than having fast fingers.
I could go on, and sometimes I do. But I stopped at dexterous. I can't wait to start reading again tomorrow to see how this bad boy ends.
Posted by Adam at 11:29 PM