HAPPY NATIONAL DICTIONARY DAY!
Happy “National Dictionary Day” to all of you! Yeah, that’s right. Today is National Dictionary Day. Odd, isn’t it? Not, I suppose, if you’re part of the Webster family. You see, today, October 16th, marks the day of Noah Webster’s birth in 1758. Who’s Noah Webster, you might ask?
Well, after he graduated from Yale in 1778, he became a teacher. It bothered him that American students were using books that came from England, most of which pledged their loyalty to King George. So, in 1783 he published a book called A Grammatical Institute of the English Language. This book taught students how to read, spell, and pronounce words. It became the most popular American book of its time selling nearly 100 million copies. In 1828, when Webster was 70 years old, he finished writing his American Dictionary of the English Language. It contained definitions for over 65,000 words.
Now what does one do to celebrate National Dictionary Day? This is tricky. It’s far more obvious on other national holidays. On National Chocolate Day (coming up on October 28th by the way) we can feasibly and legally consume as much chocolate as we’d like, all in the name of celebration. Or on National Arbor Day, for instance, we can plant a tree to celebrate. I heard that January 11th is National Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friend Day. I’m not sure if it’s really a national holiday, but I bet you know exactly what to do to celebrate, don’t you? 🙂
But celebrating National Dictionary Day? What a quandary.
Here’s what I suggest: In honor of Noah Webster and National Dictionary Day, grab the nearest dictionary, randomly open it, randomly pick a word (with your eyes closed), and challenge yourself to use that word in a sentence as many times as you can today. It doesn’t matter how strange or funky or bizarre the word is. Don’t be shy or embarrassed. Just go for it. You might raise an eyebrow or two, but it might be a great conversation starter for the people in your midst.
And just so you know…it’s only appropriate that National Dictionary Day falls in National Book Month. Accordingly, dust off that book you’ve been meaning to read, crack it open, behold all those great words, and with Noah Webster in mind, read, read, read!
Do you have a favorite word? How about a favorite book? Please feel free to share…