Notes from The Meaning of Everything

February 9, 2006 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

I finished the text of The meaning of everything, Simon Winchester. When you get right down to it, this is a real story, the real story of knowledge management: the creation of a dictionary. Everything else depends on words.

In the prologue, which starts the story of creating the Oxford English Dictionary with the end (though not the end, as we learn), it was interesting to learn of the people attending this congratulatory dinner celebrating the completion of the dictionary after 70 years of work. Of note, J.R.R. Tolkien, Sir Rutherford (of the atoms).

P. 29 “…English is language that cannot be fixed [unchanging]…dictionaries cannot be prescriptive; they must always be descriptive, telling of the language as it is, not as it should be.”

p.32 Ambrose Bierce’ s “the Devil’s Dictionary”

p. 41 As I mentioned before, the scope of the New Dictionary project was amazing: a dictionary of the English language in its totality…discovery of every single word…from all literature (ALL)…every sense, every meaning…a complete inventory of the language…every single word’s etymology…every variant spelling…a full length biography including its birth=”The New English Dictionary.” This proposal was put forth by the Dean of Westminster, Richard C. Trench.


Entry filed under: Meaning of Everything.

Links and sources from Anarchist in the Library The Fine art of Small Talk

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