Over the past two decades, the sales of print dictionaries have decreased steadily. Who needs a dictionary when it is built into most operating systems on mobile devices and computers? But distinguished lexicographer, editor of Roget’s International Thesaurus, and prolific author (more than 60 books) Barbara Ann Kipfer believes that print dictionaries are superior to online dictionaries. In an insightful essay, Kipfer shares nine reasons why print dictionaries are better than online dictionaries:
1. Print dictionaries allow for serendipity: finding tantalizing words surrounding the target word.
2. In a print dictionary the fact that a word’s entry is in one wraparound paragraph (as opposed to being on separate lines) encourages good brain exercise — working a bit harder to distill meanings, senses, etymology, and pronunciation.
3. Finding words in alphabetical order on a page is also good brain exercise.
4. Print dictionaries contain more colorful illustrations and photographs.
5. A print dictionary has less clutter — no annoying pop-ups, no ads and no cookies or malware to worry about.
6. There is a special feeling that comes by holding a book that contains so much knowledge; there is also the nostalgia of the feeling and smell of a printed book.
7. By selecting a dictionary from a shelf, you are choosing to look at one and not several at a time as you would online.
8. By looking around the target word, you get to learn a word or words you didn’t before.
9. By opening a dictionary randomly, you will see words you have forgotten about and remind you to use that word again.
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