In case it slipped your mind: today is dictionary day.
You see, it’s the birthday of Noah Webster, born October 16, 1758 in Hartford, Connecticut. The boy would grow up to have quite the storied life, though few of us have an inkling—all we know for certain is ‘Webster’ can hardly waltz through our minds without ‘dictionary’ gliding in step.
But Webster didn’t begin the arduous task of compiling his expanded dictionary until he reached the age of forty-three. He learned twenty-eight languages in order to understand the etymology of words. He learned pronunciations and spellings from across the nation in order to simplify and standardize the English language in the United States.
It took him twenty-seven years . . .
He finally published An American Dictionary of the English Language at the age of seventy. It contained seventy thousand words, including twelve thousand that had yet to make an appearance in a dictionary.
Seventy thousand words, each with its own story and meaning, to help us convey exactly what we intend: that is a mighty fine reason to celebrate.
In honor of the occasion let’s break out the dictionary. Let’s learn a new word, maybe uncover a new favorite (I’m quite partial to mellifluous words, myself). After all, it’s never too late to start a new adventure or learn a thing or two . . .