Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Words/Definitions/Sparkling Things

Which definition of languish is more appropriate for a blog?
-To fail to make progress or be successful - or -
-Suffer from being forced to remain in an unpleasant place or situation - that being the Internets, dear readers. Maybe here I'm referring more to the words, not the blog. Oh well.

Have you read The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester? No? You should. Really. The book came out a few years ago, but I only recently had the pleasure to read it. It's very well-written, and the story (true story!) is incredible. I mean, if you like words/dictionaries/defining things. One of the most prolific contributors to the first edition of the dictionary was an incarcerated murderer/madmen; the author can't definitively say for certain why he went mad, but one of the postulates is that he was traumatized from his time as a doctor in the Civil War, forced to brand deserters with a hot iron. It's really a tragic, touching story.

I love words/dictionaries/defining things. Growing up, my mother had a copy of the Compact Edition of the OED, complete with mini microscope to aid in reading the tiny, tiny print. I admit I didn't make as much use of it as I should have -- but it was a treasure.

Dismantling words, too. Misuse/abuse. Rhyming, spinning, sparkling things.