Actually if a writer needs a dictionary he should not write. He should have read the dictionary at least three times from beginning to end and then have loaned it to someone who needs it. There are only certain words which are valid and similes (bring me my dictionary) are like defective ammunition (the lowest thing I can think of at this time).
My favorite books are a constantly changing list, but one favorite has remained constant: the dictionary. Is the word I want to use spelled practice or practise? The dictionary knows. The dictionary also slows down my writing because it is such interesting reading that I am distracted.
In fact, growing up, I thought there were two types of families: 1) Those who need a dictionary to get through dinner. 2) Those who don't. We were no. 1. Most every night, we'd end up consulting the dictionary, which we kept on a shelf just six steps from the table. "If you have a question, " my folks would say, "then find the answer.
Though it's true that (dictionary-maker Samuel) Johnson sometimes seem to feel that the language was in decline, he didn't rail against it with (Jonathan) Swift's anger. Instead, he hoped the example of his dictionary would temper that change by providing a distinguished literary example
Robert Lane Greene
Music is a language, and it's like a dictionary that has a lot of words, but if you limited yourself to a couple of definitions you would be illiterate. If one limits oneself to a peculiar definition like 'new music,' 'avant-garde,' or something like that, I think it's like cutting out half the dictionary.
The bold and discerning writer who, recognizing the truth that language must grow by innovation if it grow at all, makes new words and uses the old in an unfamiliar sense has no following and is tartly reminded that 'it isn't in the dictionary' - although down to the time of the first lexicographer no author ever had used a word that was in the dictionary.
Now a Jew, in the dictionary, is one who is descended from the ancient tribes of Judea, or one who is regarded as descended from that tribe. That's what it says in the dictionary; but you and I know what a Jew is - One Who Killed Our Lord. And although there should be a statute of limitations for that crime, it seems that those who neither have the actions nor the gait of Christians, pagan or not, will bust us out, unrelenting dues, for another deuce.
Fandango was around before the Internet. Fandango is a Spanish-American dance. It's a lively tempo dance. It's almost like the tango. That's what it says in the Merriam-Webster [dictionary]. The second entry is [defined as] 'tomfoolery.' That's what it says in the dictionary, that's what I go by. I remember Queen saying it too on 'Bohemian Rhapsody.' When I was little I never understood what they meant by 'do the fandango.
Fail, it's not in my dictionary. I've got a good dictionary up there and the words 'fail' and 'failure' have been ruled out for years. I don't know what people are talking about who use that word. All I do know is temporary non-success, even if I've got to wait another 20 years for what I'm after, and I try to put that into people, no matter what their object in life.
A panda walks into a tea room and ordered a salad and ate it. Then it pulled out a pistol, shot the man in the next table dead, and walked out. Everyone rushed after it, shouting "Stop! Stop! Why did you do that?" "Becuase I am a panda," said the panda. "That's what pandas do. If you don't believe me, look in the dictionary." So they looked in the dictionary and sure enough they found Panda: Racoon-like animal of Asia. Eats shoots and leaves.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Why don't you purchase an Italian dictionary? I will assume the expense." "I have one," she said, "but I don't think it's very good. Half the words are missing." "Half?" "Well, some," she amended. "But truly, that's not the problem." He blinked, waiting for her to continue. She did. Of course. "I don't think Italian is the author's native tongue," she said. "The author of the dictionary?" he queried. "Yes. It's not terribly idiomatic.
LEXICOGRAPHER, n. A pestilent fellow who, under the pretense of recording some particular stage in the development of a language, does what he can to arrest its growth, stiffen its flexibility and mechanize its methods. For your lexicographer, having written his dictionary, comes to be considered "as one having authority, " whereas his function is only to make a record, not to give a law. The natural servility of the human understanding having invested him with judicial power, surrenders its right of reason and submits itself to a chronicle as if it were a statue. Let the dictionary (for example) mark a good word as "obsolete" or "obsolescent" and few men thereafter venture to use it, whatever their need of it and however desirable its restoration to favor - whereby the process of improverishment is accelerated and speech decays. On the contrary, recognizing the truth that language must grow by innovation if it grow at all, makes new words and uses the old in an unfamiliar sense, has no following and is tartly reminded that "it isn't in the dictionary" - although down to the time of the first lexicographer (Heaven forgive him!) no author ever had used a word that was in the dictionary. In the golden prime and high noon of English speech; when from the lips of the great Elizabethans fell words that made their own meaning and carried it in their very sound; when a Shakespeare and a Bacon were possible, and the language now rapidly perishing at one end and slowly renewed at the other was in vigorous growth and hardy preservation - sweeter than honey and stronger than a lion - the lexicographer was a person unknown, the dictionary a creation which his Creator had not created him to create.
When Molly O'Toole was looking at the colored pictures in Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's big dictionary and just happened to be eating a candy cane at the same time and drooled candy cane juice on the colored pictures of gems and then forgot and shut the book so the pages all stuck together, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle didn't say, "Such a careless little girl can never ever look at the colored pictures in my dictionary again." Nor did she say, "You must never look at books when you are eating." She said, "Let's see, I think we can steam those pages apart, and then we can wipe the stickiness off with a little soap and water, like this-now see, it's just as good as new. There's nothing as cozy as a piece of candy and a book.