The Meaning of Everything by Simon Winchester is about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary.  For those who think the Oxford English dictionary is that boring old thing that sits on your shelf gathering dust, that thing you should consult whenever you come across a new word instead of skimming over it, think again! The OED's evolution is as interesting as the story of English itself. (The author does an interesting "English 101"  type overview of the History of English)

It is the characters and circumstances that propelled the creation and near-completing of this aurthoritative text that the story revolves around, and the fact that it got off the ground and was compiled and reached its current form(s) in (just!) 71 years, is fascinating in itself.  The dictionary is now available online, and if you have a "Kindle" or similar product (The new i-books) you can tap on a word and get the definition- ah ! no need to get it off the shelf!!

 

Although it has had some non-positive reviews, and can sometimes be "a bit too much information" if youre not enamoured with the subject, Winchester has provided the lay person with an entertaining read and this will certainly be liked by people interested in words and language, and those who thought they might not be.

 

 

on balance..3 1/2 stars out of 5

 

 

 

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