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.
‘Single-use’ edges out ‘VAR,’ ‘floss,’ ‘gammon,’ and ‘plogging’ as this dictionary’s word of the year
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.
PC gamers, choose your weapons. We’ve sniffed out summer discounts on a truckload of gear from Azio, a company that gets high marks from users for style as well as performance. Here are a few of our favorites from their diverse line of keyboards and mice. Azio Vision KB505U Backlight Keyboard When you’re on a […]
The weather is settling right into the pocket for an outdoor movie night, so it’s worth spotlighting one of the best – and smallest – projectors around: The Prima 1080p HD Pocket Projector. Even if the performance was sub-par (and it’s not), this gadget would be notable just for how portable and easy it makes […]
There’s no shortage of stories about the benefits of cannabidiol, that benign (and non-psychoactive) cousin of THC. Some have been using it for years to deal with pain, stress, and sleeplessness. And the more people use it, the more discussion there is about how to use it. While there’s no shortage of quality edibles on […]