A Kindleworm by any other name (and exciting news for OED lovers)

[EDIT: Sadly, http://www.oed.com no longer works, and even the link to it from Oxford Dictionaries Online is broken. Sincerest apologies on my behalf for getting us all excited, and for not realising sooner.]

The straw that finally broke my anti-Kindle camel’s back was the fact that Kindle comes loaded with the full Oxford English Dictionary [ALSO EDIT: I meant (and still mean) the Oxford Dictionary OF English. I unforgivably use OED as a generic term, though I know there are some who would drop a thesaurus on my head for such an offence.], thus overcoming the two main obstacles previously prohibiting my access to said lexicographical bible: price, and bulk. (My only other accessway was online, through the student login left over from my university days. Not coincidentally, that student login is my favourite souvenir as an alumnus).

Anyway, I bought a Kindle as soon as I realised this (while playing Scrabble in a Kindle-owning friend’s dictionary-less house). And thereafter, when asked whether Kindle “is good?”, my most likely answer has been “IT HAS THE *WHOLE* OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY *IN* IT. YES is good.”

Now this doesn’t mean I no longer love ‘real’ books. I do. Very much.

I have an inconveniently large number of books in my new home. (At least, relocating them from my old home — and chromatically arranging them again — was inconvenient.)

I also have one of these…


…on my desk at work.

Yes, it’s a giant fuzzy bookworm, otherwise known as helluo librorum.


Helluo librorum.

The OED is online!



No subscription (or university alumnus login) required!

And @OxfordWords tweets the Word Of The Day!

Now this doesn’t mean I no longer love Kindle…


Bowie (n.): or “Why I Have Accepted the Macquarie as My Day-to-Day Dictionary”


“Bowie: David (David Robert Jones), born 1947, British pop singer and composer, an important influence in experimental rock music.”


I’m a tiny bit of an Oxford English Dictionary snob. If I had unlimited access to it (my university student online subscription only has the tiniest whisper of life in it) I would refer to nothing else. I love it so much I have read multiple books ABOUT the OED [The Meaning of Everything, The Surgeon of Crowthorne, Reading the OED…] and have a whole lot of blogging love for the OED Word of the Day email.

Failing that, I defer to (gasp) Wiktionary, as even the most cursory glance through Proof (v.) will reveal.

But I have suddenly find myself consulting an actual tome-of-a-dictionary several times a day, and the one that happens to be close at hand is the Macquarie. I was reticent to accept its authority (we Australians are best known for butchering the English language, not documenting it)… until today, when I stumbled upon the aforeblogged entry:

“Bowie: David (David Robert Jones), born 1947, British pop singer and composer, an important influence in experimental rock music.”

Macquarie Dictionary, if you are going to have an entry on David Bowie, I defer to your most tasteful authority.

[The awesome photo wasn’t in the dictionary. It’s from Hi-ReS! feed. Read the (quite unsurprising) story of Bowie’s mugshot at The Smoking Gun.]

Camping On Tenter-hooks (aka. Another apt OED Word of The Day)

Today’s OED Word of The Day is…

Tenter (n. 1) “A wooden framework on which cloth is stretched after being milled, so that it may set or dry evenly and without shrinking”.

As in tent.

As in camping.

As in… tomorrow I fly (then bus) to Marion Bay, Tasmania, for the 3-day New Years Eve rural musical escape that is Falls Festival. Sleeping in a tent for the first time since Tibet.

Listening to Grizzly Bear

And Sarah Blasko…

And Little Birdy…

And The Yeah Yeah Yeahs…

And The Temper Trap…

And Art vs Science…

And Wolfmother…

And Midnight Juggernauts…

All while living in a tent city. [Jovial meteorological reference. Last year there was a snow warning. This year, we’ll be expecting midday highs of 34 degrees in the Celsius. Practically unheard of in perpetually chilly Taswegia. Sydney, on the other hand, City of Summer and everything, will be stuck as it is in the mid-20s, with rain in abundance.]

My myringes are on tenterhooks (even without the chance of snow).

The multifarious meanings of ‘Momental’

Today’s email inbox Oxford English Dictionary Word Of The Day is…



As far as ‘knowing thyself’ goes, momental is a fickle creature, caught seven ways between obscurity, rarity, statistics, maths, and philosophy. Behold:

1. Lasting only a moment; momentary.

2. Of or relating to momentum.

3. Of or relating to moments of time.

4. Of or relating to a moment or element, especially of a conceptual entity.

5. Of or relating to a moment of inertia. [see #2, smirk at the complete contradiction]

6. Of or relating to the moments of a random variable.

7. Momentous; of value or importance.

Now I know it’s been a while between OED Word Of The Day musings, but momental is so unexpectedly interesting that I couldn’t help but share. For though it is an unassuming word, its multifarious (and muddled) definitions give it that je ne sais quois that some like to call randominity.

Randominity is a specialised neologism, not entirely unlike The Dirk Gently Navigation Method:

“My own strategy is to find a car, or the nearest equivalent, which looks as if it knows where it is going and follow it. I rarely end up where I was intending to go, but often I end up somewhere that I needed to be. So what do you say to that?”


“A robust response. I salute you.”

{ Yes cheers, [Saint] Douglas Adams ( The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul) }

Now, momental clearly doesn’t know what it wants to mean. But all its various definitions are so nice in their own way that it hardly matters which one you intended to express in the first place (Ephemeral? Moving? Inert? Random?). Odds are you’ll be saying something of value or importance. Momental even.


Beware, Treeware

I have recently realised (or re-realised, or developed an extra level of guilt about) just how much printing I do. Paperwork in the office, journal extracts at uni, research notes that simply must be underlined and ruffled and shuffled. And yet  I Did Not Know… that “treeware” was another way of saying All That Printed Stuff That I Really Do Need In My Hands And Not On A Screen.

Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 2.29.44 pm.png

Thanks once again, OED Word Of The Day.

Yes, I am now willing to agree that newspapers are going the way of the dodo, but The Paperless Office is still very much a thing of fantasy.

That’s The Paperless Office, mind you, and not The Paperless Library, which is a thing of nightmares. I won’t rant again (just see my previous anti-Kindle rantings here).  Though I must admit that I’ve recently acquired an iPhone… and an eReader app… and have even gone so far as to download enough classic literature to fill a suitcase (if it was in treeware format)… and have THOROUGHLY enjoyed being able to reread Dracula in the font/kerning/leading/justification/colour scheme of my choice… I will never stop loving real books.

Related: Paperlust survives the typocalypse