In A Lexicographer’s Memoir of Merriam-Webster in the Internet Age, Adrienne Raphel explains that the business of words to the ‘hyperverbal’ connoisseur is nothing short of magical. A lexicographer at Merriam Webster could spend months on detailing the occurrences of a word as taken for granted as ‘do’. The question is has the internet made dictionaries irrelevant?
Not really, though lexicographers are fast losing their jobs.
In her book, Word by Word, Stamper calls the Internet both ‘a vast ball of wax’ and ‘a double-edged sword’. Without the physical limitations of print, the online dictionary can hold a broader lexicon as well as longer definitions.
Dictionaries like Merriam Webster are finding ways to become more edgy and hip by including active comment threads, youtube videos and trending topics.
It would be a good idea to browse this essay if you want to know more about the book Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper and to understand the scope of a dictionary in today’s digital world.