My growing need for dic(tionaries)

My attempts to be clever splutter and flail.

As I have grown older, I have depended on dictionaries more and more.  This somehow seems backward to me.  Shouldn’t my need for a dictionary have an inverse relationship to the size of my vocabulary.

But no.  The broadening of my vocabulary has enlightened me as to how much I misunderstand the meanings of words.  And so it was that I spent ten minutes or more looking for a dictionary arranged connotatively, so that I might understand the nuances of “tortuous” before using it in a short paper.  (Doesn’t it sound like it has something to do with torture?  While I knew the definition of the word, something nagged at me that the word could be easily misread.)  Ultimately, I ended up checking my (PRINT!) Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary Eleventh Edition against my Roget’s International Thesaurus Fifth Edition in order to suss out the subtleties.  I still don’t think I’ve found out the full meaning, but it was a start.

Ten minutes for one word.  Yowza.


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