D i c t i o n a r i e s

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
Great New Dictionary, September 1, 1993
Reviewer: From Book News, Inc.
Formerly titled Webster's..., the publishers had to distinguish themselves from rip-off competitors capitalizing on the "Webster" name, but this remains the same great college-level desk dictionary that so many of us grew up with and continue to depend upon. Not only thoroughly revised and updated, but the ninth edition was published in 1986, and we can ill-afford to be without the 10,000 new words and meanings now added. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.
Oh, Mr. Book News, Inc, I can afford...

My great concern is that as newer dictionaries are published, the older versions will be lost. Likewise, there's a lot of new-style wines being made in Italy these days. This means fewer of the more backward ones that require a lot of cellaring. I don't mind this change as long as some producers keep the old traditions alive. I even like some of these tasty new blends of cabernet and sangiovese coming out of Tuscany. But I have no use for a new dictionary. I'm hardly concerned with being caught unaware of some great new word. I see the need for new entries when it comes to technologies and things that didn't exist in 1983. But with new editions, the old ones may get harder and harder to find. This is particularly distressing if you have an affinity for the unique phrasing of older editions. Awkward and out of date, these definitions are works of art. And what happens when the cheetah becomes extinct? No more cheetah. But then the definition of cheetah must be adjusted to mention this fact. And that means a new edition. I guess what I said earlier was just wrong. But I wouldn't vote for more slang or modifying old words to meet current fancy. For example, one Amazon reviewer boasted that a British Dictionary was more up to date with American words than even the latest American dictionary because it had the word "buff" as in "not out of shape." Well, good for them. A dictionary shouldn't bother with such silly words. In summary, have all the damn dictionaries you want, but be tasteful about it. And please don't take my (Webster's Third) away.


9 of 18 people found the following review helpful:
Not Interesting at All!, December 4, 2000
Reviewer: Hon. Lou P. Nizer, Jr. (Ret.) (see more about me) from Anchorage, AK
I've heard of avant-garde writing, but this is ridiculous! First of all, there is no discernable plot. Second of all, no style - hard even to find a narrative "voice" although the author does adopt a scholarly, fairly arrogant tone that calls to mind Nabakov's "Humpbert Humpbert." All this is is words and, in some sad last look at modernism and its desire to classify, their "meanings." The words appear to be in alphabetical order, although I have not read all of this, and there are suggested techniques for speaking the words - the author's desire to impose him/herself (Merriam Webster? must be a woman) is wholly lacking in even basic awareness of cultural studies. Nevertheless, one does appreciate attempts at new literature. Still, I'd like to take this to the shed out back with my copy of "Of Grammatology" and deconstruct it.
And notice that only 9 of 18 found it helpful. How would you like to spend your vacation with those other nine? Survivor.
Which dictionary should you buy then? According to my own argument, you should, in fact, get the Oxford English Dictionary. Well no, because at twenty-six pounds, that's just too much book. This is not a book for people who appreciate the good word now and then, this is a book for people who have a problem.

You should get the Unabridged Webster's 3rd. It's only a mere $120 and it's got all the words you need without sacrifice anything in style or bounce. For dry and damaged hair.

This is the one I don't want. The Tenth Collegiate Dictionary. But follow the link anyway for a silly/interesting discussion about it. I liked the Ninth Collegiate Dictionary, but it seems to be gone? Heaven?