Happy Dictionary Day!
March 6th 2021
AS THE WORLD TURNS VERY SERIOUS AGAIN, IT’S TIME TO LOSE ONESELF IN A WONDER OF WORDS…
Dictionary Day is held in honour of Noah Webster, who compiled the famous English language dictionary in 1758. But mainly, today is a day to celebrate being an unashamedly nerdy logophile - or lover of words. It’s a day to revel in the rambunctious, the multifarious and mellifluous multitude of words that the English language has to offer.
Language evolves constantly, of course. Around 200 words are added each year to various dictionaries, as we bend, twist, mash up and magic up new expressions into our language. The Merriam-Webster dictionary, has seen words like ‘fast fashion’, ‘microaggression’ and ‘ping’ added to its lists in recent years; while in the UK, the Oxford English Dictionary has registered ‘chillax’, ‘cryptocurrency’, ‘nomophobia’ (the fear of not being able to access a mobile phone) and ‘omnishambles’ (a total political mess-up) as newly official words.
The addition of new words to commonplace parlance does of course stretch back as far as time itself. Shakespeare is credited with the invention or coinage of some 1,700 new words, many of which we still use today. We wouldn’t have ‘zany’, ‘lonely’, ‘nervy’, ‘rant’, ‘alligator’, ‘eyeball’ or indeed many other verbs and adjectives if it weren’t for the Bard. Characters in novels wouldn’t be ‘cold-blooded’, ‘cruelhearted’, ‘bloodstained’, ‘’barefaced’, ‘arch-villains’ if it weren’t for him and his decision to set-down in his plays some of the new words buzzing out of his head and flying about town.
There is pure joy to be found of course in those words which have slipped out of everyday diction. If you’ve read S J Bennett’s The Windsor Knot, I’m sure you too can imagine Her Majesty thinking of her Secret Service Agents as ‘ninnyhammers’, or fools. Many, many years ago, the bully Hector in The Night Bus Hero would have been called a ‘snool’ for his meanness or a ‘blatteroon’ for his senseless babbling; while the wild farmhouse in which Romilly grows up in The Illustrated Child, with its thickets, groves and wild beauty would have been ‘bocaresque’ and its supposed treasure would have been hidden in an ‘abditory’ or place for hiding precious belongings.
But enough blateration (nonsense): it only remains to say: make Dictionary Day your excuse today to pick up a book and lose yourself in wordy wonder.
Have a fantabulous weekend.
Vicki & The LoveMyRead Team x