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Let's Look It Up

October 4, 2013 - Jane Whitmore
From childhood, we were taught “the dictionary is your best friend.” This week, Marsha Duhn returned to Emmetsburg with a gem of a dictionary.

New Dictionary of the English Language, 1925 Edition, with a soft brown leather cover and a few loose pages that show a lot of use. It came from Marsha’s parents’ home.

Start at the beginning with the Publishers’ Preface.

“The publishers invite attention to some of the noteworthy features of this dictionary:

“The Vocabulary, carefully chosen, is not only more comprehensive than that of any other dictionary of equal size, but it is also more modern. It is thoroughly up-to-date, and meets all the wants of the general reader of the present day. Here and only here are collected and defined hundreds of the new technical terms, new war words, and old military expressions revived by the Great War - terms that are now becoming a permanent part of our language.”

Looking through the back sections of the dictionary, we found: a Glossary of Radio Terms; Foreign Words, Phrases, Maxims and Quotations frequently occurring in Literature and Conversations with their English Equivalents (from a bas -- French for down with, as in a bas le traitre, down with the traitor; to zeitung -- German for newspaper); A Dictionary of Commercial and Legal Terms; a Glossary of Aviation Terms (including helicopter:?an aerial vehicle sustained and propelled by the action of the screws, propeller or rotating planes and without supporting planes; a form advocated by many scientists but not yet perfected mechanically);

Glossary of Automobile Terms (including generator (1) a device for producing acetylene gas; (2) an electrical dynamo); Glossary of Base Ball Terms (including jarring the pitcher: batting the ball freely); Glossary of Golf Terms (including forecaddie: a person employed to go ahead of the players to watch where their balls go); Christian Names of Men and Women; A Glossary of Contractions and Abbreviations; Legal and Other Holidays in the Various States; Time Difference between the city of New York and the principal foreign cities; The Wealth of the World; Electoral Vote of the states as based upon the Reapportionment Act of 1911;

Armies of the World; Navies of the Five Great Naval Powers, including ships, building and projected Sept. 1, 1922 and ships retained Sept. 1, excluding those to be scrapped under treaty, ships over 12 years of age not included, and ships to be scrapped by treaty; The American (Voluntary)?System of Military Service, as it prevailed till the beginning of 1917; American System of Military Service, under the selective draft law approved May 18, 1917; Declarations of War, 1914-1918; Armistices and Treaties of Peace; American Casualties in the World War; The Army of the United States; The Swiss System of Military Service; German Military System (pre-war);

Panama Canal Statistics, including how the canal has shortened ocean voyages; Society of Automobile Engineers’ Standard Automobile Nomenclature, noting: “For several years there has been an insistent demand for standardization of names of car parts.” At the end of this section are drawings of types of motor car bodies;

The names of the States and Their Meaning:?Iowa -- American Indian for “Beautiful Land”; The Nicknames of the States and the Reason:?Iowa -- “The Hawkeye State,” so named from an Indian Chief, Black Hawk, who figured in its early history; Nicknames of Famous Personages; The Decisive Battles of the World and Their Results; The Metric System of Weights and Measures; Value of Foreign Coins in United States Money; Facts About the Earth;

Wedding Anniversaries; Language of the Flowers; Language of Gems; Birth Stones; Birth Days; Presidents of the United States, from George Washington to Calvin Coolidge, a Republican who was inaugurated in 1923 at age 51; and Famous Characters in Poetry and Prose. Sprinkled throughout the dictionary are colored pages, printed on one side, depicting European War Medals and American War Medals; Flags of America; Agates, Birds, Butterflies, Fish, Fruit, Gems, Minerals, Shells and Wood; black and white photos, 16 pages in one section and 14 pages in another section.

All that and still that does not include the definition of words. It’s interesting that there are only three pages of Z words. What’s more fun than to “look it up”??Let’s Google a word in the Urban Dictionary.

A dictionary deserves a special place in your home. I prefer a book that I can hold in my hand and look up words. Often that sends me to a related word and by the time I'm finished there are half a dozen book marks in the dictionary.


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