like dust on my OED,
time casts a fine particulate
upon my once-clear soul
-- start of a Hulles poem, from back when he wrote poetry and thought he knew what growing old was all about
I've always loved the Oxford English Dictionary, the OED to us word-lovers and wannabe literary types. I would say that it's the Bible of the English language, but that would be sacrilegious. Maybe if I use a small 'b' in 'bible' I could get away with it. Anyway it's a big deal.
I used to own a Compact Edition of the OED. This was a two-volume edition of the gazillion-volume Standard Edition that came with a magnifying glass so you could read the entry you were interested in. And most entries were interesting: the OED gives detailed etymology and many examples of usage along with the definition of a word. I have no idea where my OED is now, which is one of the sadder statements I've made today.
The OED is to me a revered and respected old friend. I have it listed in my blog profile “Favorite Books.” I subscribe to the OED word of the day (WOTD) on my Internet home page. In fact, the OED is to me much like a Harley Davidson Fat Boy is to its owner. I was thinking as I was writing this that, also like a Harley owner, if I could figure out a way to have sex with it I would. If that were true though, there would be a lot of little illustrated childrens' dictionaries running around today, all named Heather of course.
I tell you all of this so you can begin to understand how appalled I was recently to find that the OED Word of the Day was “bootylicious.” What the f*ck? It's the Oxford Engslish Dictionary! Finding “bootylicious” in the OED is like finding a vibrator in your late grandmother's effects: you can understand why it's there, but actually confronting it makes you recoil in horror. It's just so wrong.
I'll get over it eventually. But come on, “bootylicious?” And "Word of the Day?" I'll never read the OED in the same way again. Thus another venerated icon bites the dust. Sigh.