If you’re reading this then chances are that you read widely on the Internet. And if you do that, then you’re probably exposed to many varieties of English (and other languages). I imagine then that at least once this year, and maybe more often, you’ve had cause to visit a dictionary to look up some word or phrase you’ve encountered.
These days, of course, you’ll probably just search Google or visit the Wikipedia, but maybe you consult one of those tomes of dead trees for enlightenment. Whatever you consult, though, it’s down to one man in 1755 that we even have a dictionary.
World Wide Words tells us that next Friday, 15 April, is the 250th anniversary of the publication of Dr Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language.
And on the topic of words, take a look at WordCount (needs Flash). It presents the 86,800 most frequently used English words, ranked in order of commonness. It’s not too obvious, but you can use the links below the word line to search for specific words, or word rank. “Zealand” stands at position 3498, interestingly enough, next to “native” at 3499.