View Full Version : Dictionaries - a sign of the times

23rd Dec 2003, 11:01 am
I always keep a dictionary close to my computer, partly for clarifying word meanings and partly for checking my sometimes questionable spellings. I prefer the Collins dictionary because I find that typographically it is clear and attractive.

Recently I got a bit of a shock. I was looking up something or other and then idly flicked through to "website" - except that I didn't - because it wasn't there. I then realised that "internet" wasn't there either. In fact, there was not one internet related term in the entire dictionary. Surely, I thought, I haven't had it that long. I remembered buying the dictionary when the edition was first published. Turning to the inside cover, I noticed that it was published in 1987.

OK, so that was 16 years ago but it was a clear demonstration of how recent all this web stuff really is. It is an exciting time to be involved with the web; the rules are still being written and there is plenty of scope for experimentation and debate. Let's make the most of it.

I am now the owner of the 2003 edition of the Collins English Dictionary (21 from Amazon). Not exactly bedtime reading but very comforting nonetheless. My 1987 edition went to the Oxfam bookshop.

Oh, and by-the-way, a website is "a group of connected pages on the World Wide Web containing information on a particular subject" in case you were wondering.

23rd Dec 2003, 01:04 pm
I always use Dictionary.com (http://www.dictionary.com)

It's quick and easy to use, and although American it has British spellings too.

It even has sound clips that pronounce the words.

23rd Dec 2003, 01:43 pm
Things move so quickly in this area of life. I've started reading Tom's Webonomics book, and although it was published in (from memory) 1997, in its list of top search engines, Google doesn't get mentioned. It's amazing that since 1999 (http://www.google.com/corporate/history.html), Google stopped being a beta product and became such a monster.

Dictionary.com is good, as is the attached thesaurus "bit". With pop-up blocking, it's even better.