The cool thing about the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is that it is referential and contextual. Which is to say, the definitions come from printed usage, with meanings determined by context. One of the advantages of this is you can trace the history of a word’s meanings back through time, with citations showing the literary usage (a great non-fiction book about this is The Professor and the Madman, which I highly recommend reading).
Well now, it seems another dictionary has taken that etymological approach a step further. According to The A.V. Club, Merriam-Webster’s new etymology tool is both educational and terrifying. So if you’re a word geek, as I am, this should be rather exciting news!
Of course, being a true word geek, it means I also love the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, which is “a compendium of invented words written by John Koenig. Each original definition aims to fill a hole in the language—to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for.”
Enjoy your Sunday!