I’ve been thinking about the lexical charting we call dictionaries since I discovered the wiktionary. That’s a little lie, I watched Erin McKean’s TED Talk last year and regretted my life choices that didn’t include working towards a lexicography career, which has been a dream of mine since, say, 11 or 12. Also, her blog is way cooler than mine (though less updated, given the CEO-ing and all)! Check it out! I digress.
I just checked my blogroll; it didn’t include Wordnik, the modern dictionary concept she spoke of at TED. I swiftly took care of that. And since it’s so new, I’d like to look into Wordnik. I didn’t need a word, only wanted, so based on a song I was listening to, I looked up “silent”. An amusement park opened on my screen. Synonyms, antonyms, usage graphs — by decade or how often to expect to hear the word! — examples, anagrams, flickr photos?, just about everything to track a word… and that was under the “summary” tab. Talk about comprehensive! And in true democratic fashion, we the people can log in a leave notes. Wiktionary may allow for more than just notes, but it’s not nearly as fun or expansive. Plus, I need the safety of expert opinions, and from what I gather, experts do the finalizing on Wordnik.
My concern is that I’m not sure if the site will suit my needs when I need simply the definition of a word. If all I need to complete my night’s reading is the def. of “parsimonious“, why would I go through the hee haw of wordnik for a simple few lines of expert-verified OED officiality? I suppose I could just ignore the tweets and pics and go straight for the list of old-skool dictionary entries. Not bad, McKean and co.
Full disclosure, I can’t stop looking up words on Wordnik, like hee haw, which does not exist there yet. Is it part of my civic duty to submit it?
And I started this off hoping to drop the sex-lexicon link. There’s no opportunity; I went so off-track I’m on a different line altogether. I’ll just addendum it here. It’s something Zap Brannigan would think up and I love it. You can browse it! My 12-year-old self is very happy. But what would happen if sex-lexis moved into the Wordnik arena…. ay gevalt!