The Perfect Gift for a Writer: A Dictionary

As the title suggests, I recently received the perfect gift that any writer could get: a dictionary. But this was not just any dictionary. This was a copy of The Compact Oxford English Dictionary.

Big whoop, I hear some of you say. Well, actually, it is.

The Oxford English Dictionary (2nd Edition) is a 20-volume beast. No joke. Published in 1989, it clocked in at 21,728 pages. And that doesn’t include all the supplement materials that have since been added. The 3rd Edition is still in production and is not expected to be published until 2037. I hate to think how big the Oxford English Dictionary will be by then.

So what makes the version I got so special? Well, when they said Compact in the title, they meant it. All 20 volumes of the full dictionary have been compressed into 2386 pages, and I don’t mean words taken out. No… I mean compressed in the literal sense. Each page contains 9 pages of the full dictionary shrunk down to microfiche size. Don’t believe me? Look at this…

A single page from The Compact Oxford English Dictionary

A single page from The Compact Oxford English Dictionary.

It’s insane. Even with a standard magnifying glass, I’m going to struggle to read the beast. And even in its compact form, the book is still freakin’ huge. It weighs 6.3 kg (13.9 lbs) and is two hand-spans tall, not to mention a palm-width wide.

Even though it's the Compact version, this dictionary is still big: two hand-spans tall, one palm-width wide, and weighs 6.3 kg (13.9 lbs).

Even though it’s the Compact version, this dictionary is still big: two hand-spans tall, one palm-width wide, and weighs 6.3 kg (13.9 lbs).

Dare I say it, it will likely just sit on the shelf, rarely used. I will likely use my Merriam-Webster first (it’s much smaller and more user-friendly). However, the prestige of saying that I own a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary is definitely not lost on me. And it looks so pretty on my desk.

Doesn't my new dictionary just look so pretty...

Doesn’t my new dictionary just look so pretty sitting along side the rest of my books…


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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2016

Posted in A Writer's Journey, Personal Favourites, Random, Writing and tagged , , .

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