I love the Merriam-Webster online dictionary.


I have this incredibly gracious friend who loves dictionaries, and I’ve always sort of admired that about her, because it’s just so charmingly nerdy.  I mean, it maybe seems cliched, but until you’re actually having the experience of interrupting a conversation at a party to look up a word’s denotations and origins and such, don’t you judge, because it’s a beautiful thing, and we all get smarter and more curious because of it.  Anyway, I’ve been emulating this friend lately (consciously?  half-consciously, we’ll say) by making copious use of this website, which hardly needs linking, but still.  It is so far superior in precision and credibility to any other online dictionary, and, as my own physical (you know, made of paper) dictionary is kind of a joke, the M-dub online is my current fave.  Today, for example, I looked up gracious!  I mean, I know what it means, but I wanted to know what-all it means.

What I’ve found is that I mean the word “gracious” a little more warmly than the definition suggests.  I mean, there’s this sort of openness and, well, grace that is inviting and disarming and, as I said above, charming, without being pretentious.  I like that.  Hi, friend!

At the moment, I am very into the texture of things–the texture of meanings and experiences, like I’m enjoying thinking about them as three-dimensional objects with pores and such.  I know that sounds ridiculous and, well, pretentious, but I’m trying to be honest about what I’m thinking about.  And also, apparently, totally abstract!  I’ve chided my artsy student writers about that before, and I was right then, but I don’t care to monitor myself right now.  Anyway, the dictionary is a texture thing for me.  I get at the pores of a word.  Or something.  I’m done with that thought.

I want to read more.  I want to read a book just heap full of really excellent words over break.  Suggestions?

Two giant cups of coffee may be too much for me.


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