The American Heritage Dictionary – the Book

John E. McIntyre:

I have never before thought of a dictionary as gorgeous.

But the fifth edition of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language is coming out (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2,112 pages, $60). It weighs more than eight pounds, and it is a beauty.

I go back to how beautiful this book is, as well as how thorough and informative. And I think that, no matter how handy electronic resources are, no one thinks of a website as a beautiful artifact.* (No one but a website designer.) I am a member of the receding generations for whom the printed book, particularly when it is executed ably and gracefully, is a sacred object, palpable learning that can be held in the hand. This is one such volume.


*Don’t be cross, www.merriam-webster.com, I use your site regularly. I love your site. You too are doing the Lord’s work. OED, if I could afford you online, I would be at your feet as well. But this book is just gorgeous.

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