The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary
From the best-selling author of The Professor and the Madman, The Map That Changed the World, and Krakatoa comes a truly wonderful celebration of the English language and of its unrivaled treasure house, the Oxford English Dictionary.
Writing with marvelous brio, Winchester first serves up a lightning history of the English language—"so vast, so sprawling, so wonderfully
Maybe 3.5 stars. I found this a little dry at first, but warmed up to it about halfway through. The Oxford English Dictionary truly is an amazing achievement, and the 70 year history of its first incarnation is astonishing. This book renewed my admiration for the OED, and made me wish all the more strongly that I owned a copy.
Many fascinating anecdotes to be found here. My favorite being ...more
This book has only one protagonist – and ...more
Moral of the story: You can stab women and still have a big vocabulary.
Near the end, chapter 7 Winchester explores why so many people helped out with the making of the OED when their only reward was perhaps footnotes in the dictionary. Since he wrote this ...more
When I read a book like this it makes me wish that I had a love of words and the mind to learn multiple languages easily as so many people involved in the OED were. ...more
This is a fascinating book about a subject that wouldn't seem on the fac ...more
The early years were consumed with agony and backbiting. The Philological Society of London thought up the project, and the first editor, Herbert Coleridge turned ...more
What was it like to live in a world without dictionaries? Serious, think about that. I've always taken the dictionary for granted as much as the kinfe and the wheel, but ithe dictionary is a relatively recent invention. Without a dictionary, how do we unify language? How do we differentiate between simple ignorance and a deeper misunderstanding? How do we define "proper pronunciation"?
The Oxford English Dictionary was a 60+ year project that had to tackle all of there prob ...more
I have to admit that the Oxford English Dictionary is something I have always taken for granted. I had a had me down, battered copy of it that I use to use during my school years. Not once then, or even up until recently, had I ever wondered how or who put it together, nor stopped to truly appreciate the effort it must have taken.
Until now that is. I came across this book simply due to the fact that I like this author's writings. He can take wh ...more
It was wonderful to think about the fluidity of English in Victorian England and just how much mental labor was required to create the first truly complete di ...more
A rather light read overall, probably ...more