You should try the 1913 Webster's, seriously


#1

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#2

But it's missing "fuck."

Keeping it classy, I know.


#3
Never dove into the dictionaries of that era, but the encyclopedia's from then are a real trip... When I used to live my life on the edge, a friend and I would head over to the local thrift store on a Saturday afternoon and get a couple encyclopedia books from the early 1900's and then spend the rest of the evening trying to out-shock each other with entries.
The people of X are a lazy ignorant race with no industrial development...

Where X was something like Greece or Italy -- the stuff on third world countries was much worse.


#4

No, man; you gots to use a variety. Webster's 1913 is nice, but it's missing way too much of what I look up (for instance recently some stuff from The Magic Mountain), though the definitions it has are usually pretty good.

The copy I use, by the way, is from Guttenberg via Android app "Offline dictionaries" by one Nicolas Guillaume, which allows you to look up the same word in Webster's 1913, Wiktionary, and WordNet (and a bunch of English-Xxxxese dictionaries the developer has managed to find for free). That's something you should seriously try, though I often still have to look elsewhere.


#5

Thank you for telling us about Offline Dictionaries - I grabbed the stuff in the full article, but it's Mac OSX only, so I was getting headaches. But Android I can definitely use!


#6

I've always preferred the 1913 Websters over all other choices including the OED for straight definitions. Of course you can't find any neologisms, but for precision of language as well as nuanced connotation I don't know any better choice. Subsequent American dictionaries are almost all horrible, including all "collegiate" dictionaries, and the abridged forms of the OED are too short while the full version is too cumbersome and too expensive at the same time.


#7

The only real use I have for physical dictionaries is referencing words that are too antiquated to have yet made it online - and the number of such words is smaller than you might think, and is rapidly diminishing.

Digital indexing and cross referencing is simply too dang useful.


#8

at the end of the linked article it explains how to install a free copy of the thing on your desktop or mobile...


#9

The easiest way to use old dictionaries is to use wiktionary.org, and you end up getting updated definitions and foreign additions as well. There's a sherlock plugin on mozdev for firefox.


#10

and the number of such words is smaller than you might think, and is rapidly diminishing.

The author suggests the 1913 dictionary not because it covers more obsolete words, but because it is more evocative and inspiring to a wordsmith.
dictionary.app with the Oxford American

diminish |diˈminiSH|
verb
make or become less: [ with obj. ] : a tax whose purpose is to diminish spending | [ no obj. ] : the pain will gradually diminish.
• [ with obj. ] make (someone or something) seem less impressive or valuable: the trial has aged and diminished him.
PHRASES
(the law of) diminishing returns used to refer to a point at which the level of profits or benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested.
DERIVATIVES
diminishable adjective
ORIGIN late Middle English: blend of archaic minish‘diminish’ (based on Latin minutia ‘smallness’) and obsolete diminue‘speak disparagingly’ (based on Latin deminuere ‘lessen’ (in late Latin diminuere), from minuere ‘make small’).

Dictionary app with the Websters 1913 dictionary

Diminishing

Diminish \Di*min"ish\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Diminished}; p. pr.
& vb. n. {Diminishing}.] [Pref. di- (= L. dis-) + minish: cf.
L. diminuere, F. diminuer, OE. diminuen. See {Dis-}, and
{Minish}.]
1. To make smaller in any manner; to reduce in bulk or
amount; to lessen; -- opposed to {augment} or {increase}.

Not diminish, but rather increase, the debt.
--Barrow.

  1. To lessen the authority or dignity of; to put down; to
    degrade; to abase; to weaken.

This doth nothing diminish their opinion. --Robynson
(More's
Utopia).

I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule
over the nations. --Ezek. xxix.
15.

O thou . . . at whose sight all the stars Hide their
diminished heads. --Milton.

  1. (Mus.) To make smaller by a half step; to make (an
    interval) less than minor; as, a diminished seventh.

  2. To take away; to subtract.

Neither shall ye diminish aught from it. --Deut. iv.
2.

{Diminished column}, one whose upper diameter is less than
the lower.

{Diminished}, or {Diminishing}, {scale}, a scale of gradation
used in finding the different points for drawing the
spiral curve of the volute. --Gwilt.

{Diminishing rule} (Arch.), a board cut with a concave edge,
for fixing the entasis and curvature of a shaft.

{Diminishing stile} (Arch.), a stile which is narrower in one
part than in another, as in many glazed doors.

Syn: To decrease; lessen; abate; reduce; contract; curtail;
impair; degrade. See {Decrease}.

Diminish \Di*min"ish\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Diminished}; p. pr.
& vb. n. {Diminishing}.] [Pref. di- (= L. dis-) + minish: cf.
L. diminuere, F. diminuer, OE. diminuen. See {Dis-}, and
{Minish}.]
1. To make smaller in any manner; to reduce in bulk or
amount; to lessen; -- opposed to {augment} or {increase}.

Not diminish, but rather increase, the debt.
--Barrow.

  1. To lessen the authority or dignity of; to put down; to
    degrade; to abase; to weaken.

This doth nothing diminish their opinion. --Robynson
(More's
Utopia).

I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule
over the nations. --Ezek. xxix.
15.

O thou . . . at whose sight all the stars Hide their
diminished heads. --Milton.

  1. (Mus.) To make smaller by a half step; to make (an
    interval) less than minor; as, a diminished seventh.

  2. To take away; to subtract.

Neither shall ye diminish aught from it. --Deut. iv.
2.

{Diminished column}, one whose upper diameter is less than
the lower.

{Diminished}, or {Diminishing}, {scale}, a scale of gradation
used in finding the different points for drawing the
spiral curve of the volute. --Gwilt.

{Diminishing rule} (Arch.), a board cut with a concave edge,
for fixing the entasis and curvature of a shaft.

{Diminishing stile} (Arch.), a stile which is narrower in one
part than in another, as in many glazed doors.

Syn: To decrease; lessen; abate; reduce; contract; curtail;
impair; degrade. See {Decrease}.


#11

I merely said that I had no use for physical dictionaries except for the purpose of “referencing words that are too antiquated to have yet made it online”.

Hence, you’re making a moot point, even if I were to agree with it (which I do not). You’re trying to sell me on something by praising qualities of it I have no interest in.

You’re also not doing so very convincingly - you make a flat, absolute statement that the dictionary in question is “more evocative and inspiring”, without explaining or demonstrating that claim in the slightest. All you do is cite bits of the work itself, as if you believe the qualities you perceive in it to be objective and self evident.

Even considering a digital medium for the work, I do not have a need nor a desire for this dictionary - it does not appear to me to supply anything my other digital dictionaries do not already, and I dislike the format. I do not find it “more evocative and inspiring” at all - quite the opposite, to be honest.


#12

You don't like Milton?

Fair enough.


#13

So wiktionary is on par with the OED, or any unabridged dictionary? It seems as laconic as the dictionary built in to OSX. (Is this good or bad? Webster's notes that it expresses much in few words, while the standard dictionary only suggests that is brief.)


#14

That is why we have Quentin Tarantino movies...


#15

At one time the citations on each page listed the dictionaries the project was originally populated from. I'm fairly positive that was usually Websters, probably the 1913. There don't seem to be citations now. The Wikipedia page has more info, but not specific info on the history. It just talks about Wiktionary originally being populated by bots, including "websterbot" which seems to be defunct.

I've never entered a lookup and had it fail, unlike every other online dictionary I've ever used. On a spot-check comparison with my compact OED, it failed on some words I'd never heard of, but there are two kinds of failure, apparently. The generic "wat? make a page 4 thes werd" response was the rarer of the two. Most often the failures went to the page:

Wiktionary does not have any English dictionary entry for this term. This is most likely because this term does not meet our criteria for inclusion yet.

So the deletionist/notability fuckers are ruining another wiki, apparently. Death squads are the only answer to these vermin.


#16

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