In my junior year of high school, a number of students in my class received awards to commemorate our academic achievements. The prize? A brand new, two volume, gold-plated dictionary. I remember one student next to me grumbled about trading it in for a Playstation 2.
While I certainly appreciated the grandeur of the prize – there’s something almost romantically intellectual about having one’s own, leather-bound dictionary – it got me thinking. Are we past the days where a dictionary is a constructive gift? Does anyone actually take the time to turn away from their computer and leaf through pages of their worn out Merriam-Webster anymore? I know I don’t, but I hope that others do. If you’re one of those people, please let me know!
Anyway, while I wonder at the practicality of a physical dictionary, there’s no doubt in my mind that a solid dictionary is a must-have in a writer’s toolbox. A thesaurus, too. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and bookmark a dictionary and thesaurus to your internet browser so that you can access them anytime. Here are a few good ones, but there are tons more out there: