choosing a dictionary - American Heritage

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29 April, 2022

When I think of dictionaries, I think of Merriam-Webster; I don't know why, but it's probably because of the presence of Webster in the name.

But when reading the poem "Now What," I wanted to look up the word relief, and after first going to the Merriam-Webster site (and being slightly surprised by the first definition, which seemed obscure), I got curious about what the hive mind at MetaFilter had to say about dictionaries.

I found two threads, one from 2011 and one from 2015, and the consensus of recommendation for the American Heritage dictionary surprised me.

(I love that, in typical MetaFilter "all the best smart cool people are here" fashion, the 2011 thread has an actual dictionary editor chiming in.)

I went to look up relief at American Heritage, and I did indeed find the definitions more helpful. The example phrases are a great feature, too.

So I think I'll switch to The American Heritage for a while ... and the pleasure of reading this entry is making me want to spend more time with the dictionary, more time exploring and appreciating words.