Incurably curious. Curiously incurable.

I might as well get it out of my system now; confess, if you will.

I love words. I love reading dictionaries. 

[If I were making a speech at a golf club, say, I would have lost about ninety per cent of my audience already. It is possible to love words and golf, or books and golf, or books about golf, or books about golfers, or books about golfers not playing golf but playing the field, or the fool, or for time.]

I have my own dictionary reading game.  I do not make any claim to originality here.  I should think that there are many who do the same, and derive genuine enjoyment from the activity. The myriad marvels of technology presented to us as the Internet have transformed this game into a fast-paced, fun activity – as a quick look at the Merriam-Webster online dictionary will attest.  Click the link even if you are prejudiced against American English. There is the possibility that you will be pleasantly surprised.

Here’s how you play the dictionary game:  Pick a dictionary.  Any dictionary.  Monolingual, bilingual, illustrated encyclopaedic.  Your choice. Then pick a word. Any word. Preferably one whose precise definition is a mystery to you.  Look it up. Read the definition.  Memorise what you want to, and leave the rest. This is a game, remember! Definitions of words need words to define them. Take a word from within that first definition and look it up. Do this repeatedly, and pretty soon you will be jumping from one word to another in such a frenzy that your head spins.

This is the point at which you return to this side of the planet and drink what remains of your cold tea or coffee. If you have one, you can pat a dog distractedly at the same time.


Note: the word or phrase in bold appeared in my previous blog.

9 thoughts on “Incurably curious. Curiously incurable.

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  1. Cheers Allison,
    The only real question in life is “why?”

    One more story for you:
    I like a story I read once (more than half a century ago – by Malba Tahan) about a man who, in a party, enchanted all with his deep wisdom.
    He would talk at length about a subject and amaze people.
    Someone, later, complimented him in private and he said:
    Did you notice that every subject I talked about started with the letter “F”?
    I was imprisoned for four years and the only thing I had to do not to get mad was to read an Encyclopedia. You guessed right… the only volume I had was the “F” volume.


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