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Simon Winchester quotes (showing 1-14 of 14)

“And after that, and also for each word, there should be sentences that show the twists and turns of meanings—the way almost every word slips in its silvery, fishlike way, weaving this way and that, adding subtleties of nuance to itself, and then perhaps shedding them as public mood dictates.”
Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
“Any grand new dictionary ought itself to be a democratic product, a book that demonstrated the primacy of individual freedoms, of the notion that one could use words freely, as one liked, without hard and fast rules of lexical conduct.”
Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
“An end to timidity - the replacement of the philologically tentative by the lexicographically decisive." - on the making of the Oxford English Dictionary”
Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
“No critic and advocate of immutability has ever once managed properly or even marginally to outwit the English language's capacity for foxy and relentlessly slippery flexibility. For English is a language that simply cannot be fixed, not can its use ever be absolutely laid down. It changes constantly; it grows with an almost exponential joy. It evolves eternally; its words alter their senses and their meanings subtly, slowly, or speedily according to fashion and need.”
Simon Winchester, The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary
“All of a sudden his books, which had hitherto been merely a fond decoration and a means of letting his mind free itself from the grim routines of Broadmoor life, had become his most precious possession. For the time being at least he could set aside his imaginings about the harm that people were trying to inflict on him and his person: It was instead his hundreds of books that now needed to be kept safe, and away from the predators with whom he believed the asylum to be infested. His books, and his work on the words he found in them, were about to become the defining feature of his newly chosen life.”
Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
“The very name Impressionism is taken from an Atlantic Ocean painting - that of Monet, of sunrise in the harbor of Le Havre, done in 1872.”
Simon Winchester
“Railroads brought about lasting social effects, as well. The companies’ ruthless attention to keeping time impelled passengers to carry pocket watches,* and led to the eventual establishment of time zones.”
Simon Winchester, The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible
“was the heroic creation of a legion of interested and enthusiastic men and women of wide general knowledge and interest; and it lives on today, just as lives the language of which it rightly claims to be a portrait.”
Simon Winchester, The Professor & the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity & the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
“The cities of the eastern American fall line are well known today—Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Fredericksburg, Philadelphia—even though the part that the very similar accidents of geology and river behavior played in their origins may have been long forgotten.”
Simon Winchester, The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible
“One newcomer, asked why he had killed his wife and children, told the superintendent: “I don’t know why I am telling you all of this. It’s none of your business As a matter of fact it was none of the judge’s business either. It was a purely family affair.”
Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
“2 percent of America’s electricity now goes to keeping the Internet cool, to keeping the link unbroken, for America and for the world.”
Simon Winchester, The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible
“the creation of any sense of unity among a population of potentially disharmonious settlers almost always requires the deliberate agency of man.”
Simon Winchester, The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible
“The basin of the Mississippi encompasses a good two thirds of the contiguous forty-eight states, thirty-one of which—together with two Canadian provinces—contribute waters to its flow.”
Simon Winchester, The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible


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