Austin Kleon with some excellent advice: "Go to Goodwill and buy a gigantic used paper dictionary for $5 and keep it on your desk."
When you’re looking for a word to replace a word in your writing, John McPhee suggests skipping the thesaurus and going straight to the dictionary: "With dictionaries, I spend a great deal more time looking up words I know than words I have never heard of—at least ninety-nine to one. The dictionary definitions of words you are trying to replace are far more likely to help you out than a scattershot wad from a thesaurus."
The dictionary not only gives you a gives you a list synonyms for the word you’re looking up, it also gives you a deeper understanding of the meaning of the word, and sometimes the definition can lead you to a better way of phrasing altogether. (Stephen King: “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word.”)
There are benefits to spending a little more to grab a copy of the Oxford Dictionary of English or Merriam-Websters; note that the ODE is not the OED [Amazon] which is on another level of logophilia entirely. Get it as well.
Glasgow-based Collins Dictionary has chosen their 2018 Word of the Year: single-use. The adjective meaning “made to be used once only” beat out the abbreviation VAR (“video assistant referee”), floss (the dance, not the dental product), gammon (a white, angry male who supports Brexit), and plogging (a Swedish activity that involves jogging and picking up […]
While looking something else up, I came across Merriam-Webster’s new online “Time Traveler” feature today. It allows you to browse to see what words were first used in print for a particular year. For example: “Idiot box” was first used in 1955, “granola” in 1970, and “cyberpunk” in 1983. “Bloodletting” was used before the 12th […]
Kory Stamper, author of the new book Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries describes three criteria Merriam-Webster uses for inclusion of words like truther, binge-watch, photobomb and the 1,000 other words that make the cut in a typical year.
There are definite benefits to the whole work from home thing. The commute is a breeze. The dress code is supremely casual. And your boss has to work a lot harder to actually find you. Despite the joys, there are still some clear downsides to the whole home office thing as well. Job focus can […]
If you’re routinely prone to being stressed out, hurried or generally made out-of-sorts by the hectic pace of the world and life changes, then…yikes. We don’t envy what you must be going through these days. Right about now, even the most zen and centered among us are bound to be feeling some level of anxiety […]
So…exactly how many times a day are you singing Happy Birthday to your sink? Unless you’re among the most germaphobic among us, it’s unlikely you ever thought the simple act of handwashing would start to take on such a central role in our daily lives. Of course, with all the touching and such, bar soap […]