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David Foster Wallace’s ‘Word Notes’ in the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus in OS X’s Dictionary App

Dave Madden (posted a year ago, but news to me):

A couple years ago, I blogged about my beloved Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus, and how it includes little bits of copy about words and their usage by writers like David Foster Wallace, Francine Prose, Zadie Smith, Simon Winchester, and the composer Stephin Merritt (among others). I bought a copy online and keep it always near my desk.

Did you know everyone already has a copy on his or her Mac?

It’s part of the built-in dictionary. Type in a word, click on “Thesaurus” in the little bar above, and you’ll get the word-for-word entry from this book I paid money for.

Better yet, it also has all the “Word Notes” by these writers.

Madden includes a list of Wallace’s entries, but several of them are hard to find, (all of is at all), and there are several I could not find at all: as, beg, bland, dialogue, dysphesia, fervent, individual, loan, toward, utilize. But the ones that are there are a joy to read. (Thanks to Jacob Rus.)

Update: Several readers have pointed out that the missing words are available in the Snow Leopard (10.6) version of Dictionary, but are no longer available in Lion or Mountain Lion.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012