For a long time, I kept a small dictionary in my bag for periodic word lookups and for random perusal for words I didn’t know/haven’t used for a long time and missed. A number of months ago (somewhere between six months and an eternity), I lost the dictionary and hadn’t replaced it. I missed having the ability to reach into my trusty bag on the train and get myself a nice definition or just to have a look-through for fun if I wasn’t in the middle of a book.
Well, today’s the day I changed that. I’ve purchased a nice handy dandy dictionary courtesy of the Merriam and Webster families. Now I hope I don’t find the other one. I can’t think of anything worse than a spurned dictionary.
As I searched for a dictionary along a wall full of them, I asked myself what a “good” one was? I realize that (unfortunately) any time you’re buying a smaller version of a dictionary, they have to eliminate words. Because I don’t have a vocabulary worthy of quizzing a dictionary, I figured I was safe with a M&W edition.
As I was looking around the Reference section, I chanced upon a book with a word in the title I had never heard of. I thought, “This is the perfect test for my shiny red book of words!” I flipped through, expecting my word to be there, with a clearly elucidated definition, but alas, it wasn’t there. Was my dictionary faulty? Alas, it was not. (Not yet, anyway.) A perfunctory check of the inside flap informed me that the word was made up. (I’m not sure what the word was. I think it was Philastry, but I’m still 12% sure the world is flat, so don’t take my word for it. Or anything.)