Thursday, January 31, 2008

Websters Third

I spend way too much time inside in the winter. I have a baseboard heater in my study, so it isn't quite so chilly in that room. The cat and I both spend time there. Yesterday I noticed this wonderful zebra stripe pattern the blinds threw on our Webster's Third International Dictionary. Nothing earth shaking here, just an interesting moment in the only warm room in the house.

That dictionary is a favorite of ours. We two English majors married back in the 1970's and decided to splurge on a huge dictionary for our new home together. A woodworking neighbor built us the stand, and there are more dictionaries on the shelves underneath. A dictionary of phrase and fable, one of puns, another of rhyming. There are book about the origins of idioms, about art, architecture, and musical terms. There is the little dictionary of portmanteau words that my husband wrote, and there is the paperback dictionary I used in high school and college with all the words I looked up highlighted in neon yellow. These days I admit I use online dictionaries most often to check my spelling or look up a word that puzzles me, but I'd never give up our collection of actual books with their colored illustrations, and annotations, and sweet associations.

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