Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of Google and Wikipedia. They are great, quick resources for writers and also for collectors. I often consult the internet’s dictionaries when I’m looking for a synonym or a spelling. But I’ve found an antique Dictionary that offers so much more than what I’ve been able to locate on the internet.
This is the revised, 1950 version of a 1901 British reference book, Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary- weighing in at nearly 3 pounds, and with definitions so small, you might need to carry around your magnifier to read them. Created as an aid for Cross-Word puzzle addicts, this Dictionary offers something that all the internet dictionaries can not. Simply put, this book reveals the unfolding history -passage of our English language, page by page.
Take for example, the word “Rizzle” found on page 814.There are two definitions: “to roast imperfectly” and “to creep as ivy.” Perhaps like you, I have never used the word “Rizzle” in any context, but I can see how it might be used to describe this, my newest blog entry. If you are slowly warming to the idea that words, indeed, have changed so much in 112 years (or even as revised from 1950) or even longer, and that this entry is somewhat interesting, than it might well “Rizzle” with you, now or later.
I could go on and on, of course, as this Dictionary is 1272 pages long, but I’ll stop short here & show you another peek at it below. Please note,the book is also randomly illustrated with quaint, tiny drawings. In sum, I see Chambers’s word opus as much more than just a reference for all the Victorian crossword puzzle solvers who trolled ‘The Observer‘ and ‘Time and Tide.’ Let’s lift a toast to their memory!