It turns out that today is Dictionary Day (C'mon Google, how'd you miss it?). This less-than-recent, but somewhat humorous, article from the Boston Globe makes a tongue-in-cheek plea for celebration if you'd like to read more about it.
Noah Webster was born on October 16, 1758, and devoted a considerable amount of time and effort compiling An American Dictionary of the English Language. According to Merriam-Webster, Mr. Webster learned 26 languages to put it together. That's a language for every letter of the English alphabet. I've barely mastered English. Mr. Webster, my hat's off to you.
One of my all-time favorite dictionaries is the Oxford English Dictionary. I learned to love the gigantic reference in college when I studied Dickens and Shakespeare. It is fascinating how words, and the English language, has evolved. I could probably lose hours flipping though it.
I consulted Webster this morning, as a matter of fact. It occurred to me that we (the general population) discuss seasons as springtime, summertime, wintertime, and fall/autumn. Does falltime even exist? Thankfully, the dictionary was able to clear it up. Falltime does exist, and even though spell check will tell you it's two words, Webster will tell you it's one...and that it means autumn.
I would also like to thank Webster for being the first to document the word chowder. Without him, I might be enjoying a bowl of clam soup on a falltime day like today, and it wouldn't be nearly as yummy as clam chowder in autumn.