Dictionaries Quotes

Quotes tagged as "dictionaries" (showing 1-12 of 12)
Janet Frame
“I had a cousin once who lived in your dictionary, inside the binding, and there was a tiny hole which he used for a door, and it led out between trichotomy and trick. Now what do you think of that? It was only a few minutes walk to trigger, then over the page to trinity, trinket and trional, and there my cousin used to fall asleep.”
Janet Frame, Scented Gardens for the Blind

Ambrose Bierce
“Dictionary, n. A malevolent literacy device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic.”
Ambrose Bierce, The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
“At painful times, when composition is impossible and reading is not enough, grammars and dictionaries are excellent for distraction.”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Anne Ylvisaker
“Tugs used to think that everyone's name was in the dictionary, and when she had realized it was only hers, both Tugs and Button, she felt suddenly fond and possessive of it, as if this book were put here for her guidance alone.”
Anne Ylvisaker, The Luck of the Buttons

Samuel Johnson
“Dictionaries are like watches; the worst is better than none, and the best cannot be expected to go quite true.”
Samuel Johnson

Richard D. Ekstrom
“About 35-40% of the time, a player wants to create a word ending in a specific letter. This, however, is not the way we traditionally think, and, not to mention, this is not the way dictionaries are sorted. In other words, in many situations, conventional dictionaries are not arranged in an easy to use manner. This dictionary solves that problem by sorting on the last letter of the word.”
Richard D. Ekstrom, The Backwords Dictionary: A Word Ending Dictionary

Initially NO
“Wake up to think of words… want to walk through pages of meanings, the links in assonance, alliteration, or just simple sense that moves the eye to leap that way to the next-door play of sound and resonance.”
Initially NO, Percipience: Outside the Range of Understood Sense

“FV: Annandale defines 'definition' as "an explanation of the signification of a term." Yet Oxford, on the other hand, defines it as "a statement of the precise meaning of a word." A small, perhaps negligible difference you might think. And neither, would you say, is necessarily more correct than the other? But now look up each of the words comprising each definition, and then the definitions of those definitions, and so on. Some still may only differ slightly, while others may differ quite a lot. Yet any discrepancy, large or small, only compounds that initial difference further and further, pushing each 'definition' farther apart. How similar are they then at the end of this process...assuming it ever would end? Could we possibly even be referring to the same word by this point? And we still haven't considered what Collins here...or Gage, or Funk and Wagnalls might have to say about it. Off on enough tangents and you're eventually led completely off track.

ML: Or around in circles.

FV: Precisely!

ML: Oxford, though, is generally considered the authority, isn't it?

FV: Well, it's certainly the biggest...the most complete. But then, that truly is your vicious circle - every word defined...every word in every definition defined...around and around in an infinite loop. Truly a book that never ends. A concise or abridged dictionary may, at least, have an out...

ML: I wonder, then, what the smallest possible "complete dictionary" would be? Completely self-contained, that is, with every word in every definition accounted for. How many would that be, do you suppose? Or, I guess more importantly, which ones?

FV: Well, that brings to mind another problem. You know that Russell riddle about naming numbers?”
Mort W. Lumsden, Citations: A Brief Anthology

Duncan McNaughton
“One's freedom is one's love and one's love
is one's undoing, it's all in the dictionary...”
Duncan McNaughton, Valparaiso

“The right words to express oneself can never be found in any dictionary.”
Marty Rubin

Steven Wright
“I was reading the dictionary, I thought it was a poem about everything”
Steven Wright

Joyce Carol Oates
“Though words sometimes puzzled Alma, she never looked up any word in any dictionary; a word was like a pebble to be turned briefly in the hand, and tossed away, with no expectation that it would be encountered again.”
Joyce Carol Oates, The Tattooed Girl