Random Unabridged

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Random Unabridged

Post by dalehileman » Sun Jan 08, 2006 9:48 pm

Some time ago at Ken's suggestion I obtained this tome for my budding library. But I wonder if some of you guys don't share with me a gripe or two about using it. Entries seem muddled. For instance, some defs are given as both a verb and noun, where Merriam provides entirely separate defs separated by a gap. In addition, it's very difficult in some cases to find the different parts of speech which a word may assume because they're all jammed up and so you have to scan the entire entry looking for the tiny --vt or --vi. Eg, if you own one, look up "bed"

Nonetheless I'm grateful to Ken as I use the tome often. If you're reading this, Ran or whoever you are: in the next ed please split 'em up better
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Random Unabridged

Post by Ken Greenwald » Mon Jan 09, 2006 1:08 am

Dale, I’m not sure if your are talking about the hard copy or the CD-ROM. I was suggesting the CD-ROM. You just can’t beat it on price (less than $20) and it’s got live pronunciation of every word including alternate pronunciations. Each dictionary has its pluses and minuses. Random House Unabridged provides an approximate first appearance in print - which is a very big deal in my opinion - and Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged doesn’t (they used to in their online dictionary, but for some reason eliminated it a few years ago, which I think was a big mistake, but I suppose they had their reasons – it was probably just hard work to provide accurate numbers – but I’d personally rather have something with a few inaccuracies than nothing). Random House provides oodles of proper nouns, including biographical names, which M-W doesn’t. And I prefer Random House’s search facilities. On the other hand, as you say, Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged (and I’m talking about the CD-ROM) gives you separate access to parts of speech at the push of a button, which is a nice feature. M-W provides more example sentences to go with each word, and better etymology than Random House. American Heritage Dictionary (also referring to CD-ROM), on the other hand, provides very up-to-date, concise and well-crafted definitions, and incisive discussions on usage. What I do is use all three plus the OED, of course, and it is very often the case that a word that doesn’t appear in one, appears in the other, or when there is a very sketchy etymology in one, I find a better one in the other. And when there is a difference of opinion on definitions or etymology, I know about it by having looking in multiple sources. Of course, this all takes time, which I have (or make), and effort, which I am willing to expend.
____________________

Ken – January 8, 2006
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Random Unabridged

Post by dalehileman » Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:58 am

Ken thank you again for your thoroughness

*Dale, I’m not sure if your are talking about the hard copy or the CD-ROM. I was suggesting the CD-ROM. You just can’t beat it on price (less than $20) and it’s got live pronunciation of every word including alternate pronunciations.

Your memory is fabulous. I shall have my No. 1 Son acquire the CD for my birthday. Does anyone know if OED2 is yet out in this form?

*Each dictionary has its pluses and minuses. Random House Unabridged provides an approximate first appearance in print - which is a very big deal in my opinion

That's why I took your suggestion but acquired the hard copy and yes it's a very big deal indeed because it's about the only source I have found for this purpose

*- and Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged doesn’t (they used to in their online dictionary, but for some reason eliminated it a few years ago, which I think was a big mistake

I couldn't agree more. If I knew how to contact the right people I would forward that comment. Not enough of us contact the source with our gripes and that's partly what makes the world such a grim place

*but I suppose they had their reasons – it was probably just hard work to provide accurate numbers – but I’d personally rather have something with a few inaccuracies than nothing)

Amen.

*Random House provides oodles of proper nouns, including biographical names, which M-W doesn’t. And I prefer Random House’s search facilities. On the other hand, as you say, Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged (and I’m talking about the CD-ROM) gives you separate access to parts of speech at the push of a button, which is a nice feature

Yes most excellent. These two dictionaries should get together and share their methods. I am looking forward to Lee Scott's gift

*M-W provides more example sentences to go with each word, and better etymology than Random House. American Heritage Dictionary (also referring to CD-ROM), on the other hand, provides very up-to-date, concise and well-crafted definitions, and incisive discussions on usage

I'd acquire that one too but I simply can't afford a library the size of yours

*What I do is use all three plus the OED, of course, and it is very often the case that a word that doesn’t appear in one, appears in the other, or when there is a very sketchy etymology in one, I find a better one in the other.

I am pissed off also at OED because it takes them so very long to recognize a commonplace slang, esp if leftpond--as long as 30 years

Literally no kidding I can provide instances

*nd when there is a difference of opinion on definitions or etymology, I know about it by having looking in multiple sources. Of course, this all takes time, which I have (or make), and effort, which I am willing to expend

I am continually amazed at your diligence and patience. My library is in my bedroom and if it were the size of yours there wouldn't be room for the bed. If I spent as much time at it, there wouldn't be time for repairing the infrastructure, painting it, taking out the trash, pulling weeds, nor reading TIME mag and the daily Fourth Estate
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