All word enthusiasts have their own favorite online or in-print dictionaries.
I’ve always been loyal devotee of the Oxford English Dictionary, but now there’s a new dictionary in my life. It’s not you OED; it’s me.
The Chambers Dictionary is described as the “most useful and diverting single-volume word-hoard available.” It is also the preferred dictionary of literary heavyweights Philip Pullman, Melvyn Bragg and Ali Smith.
The dictionary contains more entries than any other single-volume English dictionary, with definitions that are short, to-the-point, and quirky. The tone is less than objective and entries are often obscure or controversial. Others are witty or caustic.
They’re also really fun.
Here is a sample of the tome’s colorful definitions:
- back-seat driver: someone free of responsibility but full of advice
- boy band: a pop group, targeting mainly the teenage market, composed of young males chosen because they look good and can dance and sometimes even sing
- blonde moment: a temporary period of stupidity, supposedly characteristic of women with blonde hair.
- éclair: a cake--long in shape, but short in duration--with cream filling and usually chocolate icing
- kazoo: a would-be musical instrument
- opinion: what seems to one to be probably true
- paneity: the state of being bread
- Regift: to give (an unwanted present) as a gift to another person, in a process which is likely to continue almost indefinitely
- Tracksuit: a loose warm suit intended to be worn by athletes when warming up or training, but sometimes worn by others in an error in judgment
- wardrobe malfunction: the temporary failure of an item of clothing to do its job in covering a part of the body that it would be advisable to keep covered”