Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The best dictionary ever

Robert McCrum writes in the Observer that the Chambers Dictionary may be no more. Its owner, Hachette UK, a subsidiary of the French company Lagardère, can see no future for it.

This dictionary has been in print since 1867 and for me is the best available. Oxford is the conventional authority, Collins is useful and we need the Americans when editing for their amusing language, but Chambers is the business.

It is as good on phrases as it is on individual words, and it has by far the best attitude. My favourite entry is this, under Charity:
charity begins at home, usually an excuse for not letting it get abroad.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Agreed. I am still using my copy of Chambers 20th Century, which I bought while at school in the 70s. My favourite entry is that for Wiseacre, which is defined as the sort of person who refers to a Welsh Rabbit as a Welsh Rarebit.