(In honor of Dictionary Day and the birthday of Noah Webster, October 16)
I love dictionaries because I love words. I love words because I love stories and language and writing. I grew up reading a lot, talking a lot and, eventually, writing a lot. I wanted to understand well and to be well understood. So whenever I encountered a new word, I had to know its meaning. If it’s a fancy, foreign or fascinating word, I wasn’t satisfied with context clues. I needed its definition and usage, its spelling and pronunciation, and as a bonus, its etymology. I’ve always been word curious.
Thankfully, I grew up with dictionaries in our house and in school libraries. If I was out and about when I encountered a new word and I couldn’t get to a dictionary right away, I would write this new word down and make sure to find its dictionary entry as soon as I can. I’ve always been word curious.
In July 2010, I decided to start writing haiku daily on Twitter to ensure that I would write at least one thing every day. As my writing prompt, I chose Dictionary.com‘s Word of the Day. This daily habit of learning a new word (or remembering a familiar one) and playing with it to form a haiku has helped to feed my word curiosity.
Ever since I started having access to the internet, I’ve been using online dictionaries. Since I discovered the app, I’ve been using Dictionary.com on my phone to quickly search for word definitions. But I still keep a print dictionary at home for when my children need to find something, that is when they don’t decide to Google it instead.
Some people choose print dictionaries; others opt for digital or online dictionaries. Some prefer a Webster; others choose Oxford. I say use whichever tickles your fancy, whichever floats your boat, whichever works for you. Whichever feeds your word curiosity.