Tuesday, March 23, 2010

n.(OFr. riote) wild or violent disorder, tumult, uproar

They don't do verbs or adverbs in dictionary illustrations, and I really must object. I remember being 13 or so and just dying to see an illustration of akimbo, which is an adjective AND adverb and a very cool word. It doesn't seem that hard to depict.

I imagine pinch, point and punch are also easy enough to do, but verbs are apparently tabu.

They do do adjectives. The dictionary is full of shapes, for example, and I appreciate that. Lobate. Sagittate. Obovate. They don't do relative adjectives, though, like long and short. Hell! The dictionary doesn't want to be judgemental.

Mostly they favor nouns, but generally not those denoting ordinary, well-known objects that most people (who spend any time in dictionaries) are familiar with. The manatee trumps the mouse, and gaff outranks the goat. One of my dictionaries, however, has the octopus , the panda and the oboe, which I hope are recognizable in most households. I can only assume these guys are irresistible for illustrators. Irresistible, period. Speaking of goats, I'd like to see a goatee . I personally love the goatee. If I were a dictionary illustrator, I would argue for the goatee.

I wish they'd do abstract nouns, but they don't. I could use help with despair, harm and marriage.

I'd also like to see riot done. And meleƩ.
They should hire Breughel.

On pages 1254-1255 of my old Webster's unabridged, they've got illustrations for opthalomoscope, opinicus, opium poppy, opossum and opposite leaves. I guess all these are useful. I thought all poppies were opium poppies. What do I know.

As Ms. Scarforo used to say: look it up, people!


LimesNow said...

Well done, Sarahjane! I'd love to get just one peek at an illustration for willy nilly, even if it was printed in disappearing ink and the one glance was the only one I'd ever experience.

Ron. said...

Yeah. I'd like to see ecstasy, please.

Just for fun, I opened to Pg 1254-55 of the nearest dictionary to hand at the moment (American Heritage, 4th ed), found: overhand knot, overhang, overhead projector, and overpass. Very boring.

"Overhang" was a photo of Frank Lloyd Wright's house, Fallingwater, in Pennsylvania.

Kass said...

I love how entranced by the workings and the illustrative nature of words you are. A most enjoyable read.

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