Do you believe the dictionary is absolute?

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  1. marinealways24 profile image60
    marinealways24posted 8 years ago

    I think the dictionary is just words to describe things to make us think we know what we are talking about. How credible is the dictionary?

    1. Izzy Anne profile image56
      Izzy Anneposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      It is even more complicated than that.  Words are the things that make us think.

      Since words change meanings all the time (see my hub on Christmas conversation and ladybirds), the dictionary is always a little behind. 

      Words get their meaning from other words in a sentence and context and so the dictionary meaning is always a starting point.  Irony, also, makes words oh so transparent.

      That said, some dictionaries are more credible than others.

      1. marinealways24 profile image60
        marinealways24posted 8 years agoin reply to this

        I agree they help in thought and learning. But, how credible are they that we actually know what we are talking about when all of the words are made up by us? Are any words absolute or just an illusion to make us think we know something?

    2. starme77 profile image71
      starme77posted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Use a Thesaurus , scratch the dictionary

      1. marinealways24 profile image60
        marinealways24posted 8 years agoin reply to this

        lol I don't think that is absolute either.

        1. Shadesbreath profile image83
          Shadesbreathposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Words are symbols for ideas/concepts. A dictionary is an attempt to chronicle what the relevant ideas/concepts are to which words are associated by a given broadly dilineated culture, with the acknowledgement that there are different usages made by the existence of multiple definitions and associated time-periods from which those different usages began approximately to appear.

          While language is not perfect by any means (the reality of which birthing bodies of philosophy and anthropology), it is the only means we have to communicate and perpetuate knowledge.  Look at a dictionary more as a guidebook than a rulebook and you'll have less issues with it.

          1. marinealways24 profile image60
            marinealways24posted 8 years agoin reply to this

            lol Hold on Shades, i'm not trying to get the dictionary banned. lol I'm just making a case that the dictionary doesn't define everything if anything. I believe the dictionary and transfer of information has played a critical part in learning from each other in the previous generations.

            I think many people limit themselves to dictionaries which could prohibit learning something not yet defined. I proved this in a previous thread.

            1. Shadesbreath profile image83
              Shadesbreathposted 8 years agoin reply to this

              Well, I didn't think you were trying to get it banned, so we're all good on that front. I was just attempting to point out that the dictionary just gives guidance as to possible and likely meanings for words based on the most recent cultural trends.

              When you say it "doesn't define everything if anything," I agree that dictionaries don't create the definition of words, they simply write down popular definitions, recording them so that others can see what common usages are.  I don't know of any dictionaries that are creating definitions for anything.  That would not be a dictionary, it would be an essay or a treatise etc.

              1. marinealways24 profile image60
                marinealways24posted 8 years agoin reply to this

                I agree with that. I just think it's odd that some choose to limit themselves to a dictionary when the dictionary is limited.

      2. lorlie6 profile image83
        lorlie6posted 8 years agoin reply to this

        You got that right, starme!!!

  2. Izzy Anne profile image56
    Izzy Anneposted 8 years ago

    Good answers, Shadesbreath.

    Dictionaries are compiled from sources e.g. newspapers, samples of street talk, etc.  Today both The Guardian and the BBC talked about new words that came into use this year and were accepted by the Oxford Dictionary.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/de … s-tweetups

    Obamaland and simples are the ones I remember from reading the paper this morning.

    Of course the bigger the dictionary, the more uses of a word you can find.  I just love my bulky 2 volume Shorter Oxford Dictionary from 1933.  But I know of dictionaries of more than 5 volumes.  Some languages, like Afrikaans, are still compiling their dictionaries.

    Of course you have to ask if you use words of if words use you.

    1. Shadesbreath profile image83
      Shadesbreathposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      My OED is 20 volumes. It's a joy to look through.

      1. Izzy Anne profile image56
        Izzy Anneposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Shadesbreath
        My OED is 20 volumes. It's a joy to look through.

        Darn, that makes me so jealous.  I love dictionaries.  Whenever I look up a word, I make a note in my dictionary saying why I had to look it up.  Internet dictionaries are just not the same.

  3. marinealways24 profile image60
    marinealways24posted 8 years ago

    lol You mean you have no faith in Wikipedia?

    1. Izzy Anne profile image56
      Izzy Anneposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Wikipedia? To use as a dictionary!  I won't even allow my students to quote it. 

      I often do editing and then I refer to Google wordcount to decide which an usage is more common if I cannot find a good answer in a dictionary. 

      to be of a  great importance

      I never use „a“.  If you google it for UK, without a is used 3 million times and with a 1,4 million times.

 
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