As a child, I remember being told—often—to “look it up in the dictionary.” That was a treat. It wasn’t long before I did so without being told. When I graduated from high school, my mother gave me The Reader’s Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary, one of my Top Ten Favorite Gifts of all time. The portion that was the Funk & Wagnall’s Standard College Dictionary featured etymology. There were dictionaries in French, German, and Spanish. An entire section contained essays on research, writing, and speaking. There were pages filled with salutations for correspondence. I often used the dictionaries of space and medical terms. The dictionary of American slang and the dictionary of quotations are well-thumbed. I used this as my primary research tool for papers in college and grad school and now it settles arguments when we’re playing games. I still find magic in opening up to any page and reading.
In my college library science classes, we studied dictionaries for 14 weeks. It was one of my most memorable classes. But I never found a dictionary to compare to mine. It’s falling to pieces now, but I can’t bear to part with it. I am grateful to the group of specialists who created this book. What a feat!