Every year, when Dictionary Day rolls around (Dictionary Day marks the 1758 birth anniversary of Noah Webster, father of the American dictionary) we tip our hats to some aspect of dictionary-making. This year we're doing something a little different: we're paying tribute to the power of words.
The power and beauty of some words is attributed to their sound: mellifluous and luscious for example, or serenity and soothe. We have a friend who loves the sound of the word linoleum.
Other terms are powerful because of their definitions: strength and courage; freedom and wisdom. And of course, some words are moving because of their evocative powers: think of the first time a sweetheart speaks of love or a child calls out for mama.
Still other words have the power to heal. In the weeks that have passed since September 11th, many of us are still turning to words for comfort. Why are words important? More than four hundred years ago, William Shakespeare advised:
Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.
And a few generations after the Bard wrote those words, poet John Milton observed:
Apt words have power to suage
The tumors of a troubled mind.
Seek out your words of comfort and write us when you can. Our e-mail address is: www.tingliku.com on the bottom. Production and research support for Word for the Wise comes from Merriam-Webster, publisher of language reference books and CDs including Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary & Thesaurus, Deluxe Audio Edition on CD-ROM