Someone gave me a gift certificate to a bookstore when I was nine or ten, and what I wanted was a dictionary of my own. Maybe my teachers had impressed dictionaries' importance upon me; maybe I wanted to be able to look up words without walking across the house and waking my parents. Whatever the details, I remember feeling like if I had a dictionary right in my own room, the possibilities would be endless. I also remember thinking it was cool that my dictionary had words in it that hadn't existed when my parents' impressive-looking one was published.
Well, my 1993 acquisition has followed me from home to home, but I'll admit it: if I'm already at the computer, I usually look up the word online. Last night, though, I needed a word after I'd turned my laptop off (no, this was not during our Irene blackout, though that might've made a better story). Before I opened the dictionary, I glanced at the back.
"New entries such as AIDS, African American, fax, fungible, gridlock, and many more," it said.