Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A wordsmith gets a dictionary for Christmas December 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 10:26 AM

My new 2007 dictionary on the left and a 2004 paperback dictionary on the right sandwich my 1969 outdated word resource book.

“WHY DO YOU NEED a new dictionary?” he asks. “You can just go online.”

Not me, son.

I want a hefty dictionary I can grab from the shelf, hold in my hands and page through to find word definitions.

And that’s exactly what I got from my husband for Christmas—the fourth edition of Webster’s New World College Dictionary.

Just to appease my 15-year-old technologically savvy son, I emphasize that a CD-ROM dictionary and thesaurus accompany the new 1,716-page hard-cover dictionary. All of this should keep me happily in the word business for years.

For a long time, I’ve known that my Random House Dictionary of the English Language needed replacing. But not until writing this blog post did I realize just how badly I needed a new word resource book. My tattered dictionary has a 1969 copyright.

I don’t know why that surprises me. After all, I carted this dictionary off to college in the mid-1970s and then hauled it from one town to another when I worked as a newspaper reporter.

More and more lately, I’ve become frustrated with the words that aren’t listed in that four-decades-old reference book. Try finding e-mail, cell phone, internet, website, blog or blogger in a 1969 publication. You won’t.

Times have changed. And like the computer that replaced the typewriter, it’s time for me to upgrade to a current dictionary.

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling