Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday Memories—Words, Words and Words


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Rachel, my sister, gave me an 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster for Christmas and it came in the mail this week. I knew right where to put it—front and center in the living room where it’s accessible.

When I was a girl, we had a big dictionary that sat on a stand at the end of the upstairs hall, right outside of my bedroom door. There is power in a dictionary. A dictionary settles arguments (necessary with a scrabble-playing-grandma-erma-that didn’t-mind-beating-her-grandkids in the house). A dictionary expands a vocabulary. A dictionary is a history book that records not only what words mean in a certain year but what society deems important enough to preserve. A dictionary is a keeper of the word. The Oxford Dictionary omits and adds words every year when they update. These are some of the words they chose to delete this year:


bishop
chapel
disciple
sin
Christian
nun
monk


Now can you see why I’m so glad for an 1828 Noah Webster dictionary in my living room? For as long as I can remember the most often used answer to a question has been “Go look it up in the dictionary so you’ll remember next time.” I think those are pretty important words and Noah knows what every one of them means. I looked them up.


Do you want me to look up a word for you?
Guess what a bishop is besides being "a spiritual superintendent"? (I put the answer in the comments section.)

8 comments:

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

It's also a "cant word for a mixture of wine, oranges and sugar" and among horse-dealers is an "art to make an old horse look like a young one, or to give a good appearance to a bad horse."

I haven't ever tasted a bishop but I've bought a bishop set of sheets from Wal-Mart. They said they were king-size but they were only twin.

Ande Payne said...

Will you look up "loggaria" (of the mouth). If you remember a fateful game of scrabble Ty defined it as, "To gush, to flow!" and ever since then we told him he had loggaria of the mouth. Let's see if he is right.

Kim Sue said...

you are serious about that list of words they left out? Christian? seriously?

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Ande, loggaria was not a word in 1828 according to Noah Webster. However, loghead was and it means a dolt.

I say next time we contest Ty.


Yes, Kim Sue, that is what the article said. Scary, is it not?

Amie said...

I can't believe the list of words being deleted...

I make my kids look things up too...

What a great gift.

melanie said...

I loved reading dictionaries when I was younger. What a cool gift from Rachel. You have a perfect spot for everything (except a certain child's stuff, ha).

Jill said...

I'm speechless, how can they delete those words?

michelle said...

I really can't believe all of those words were deleted! shocking.

We had a huge dictionary on a dictionary stand as well! Good memories.