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Word for the Wise October 16, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Webster and Wilde

This Dictionary Day we remember both Noah Webster (the great American lexicographer was born on this date in 1758) and his birthday comrade Oscar Wilde (that Irish writer was born 96 years later, on October 16th, 1854). (来源:http://www.EnglishCN.com)

What do the two men have in common besides their birthday? Words from each turn up in Webster’s Third New International, and while we greatly admire Webster’s work — remember, he wrote the first Dictionary of American English — we admit to being more charmed by Wilde’s words than by Webster’s. Quotations from Noah Webster are used to illustrate the meanings of candor, dispute, and frowned, while words from Oscar Wilde turn up at dozens of other places including bestial, contemptible, drudge and dishonor; obloquy, fanciful, distasteful, and odorous; ostentatious, remorse, turbid, and philistine.

We’ll end with a Wildean quotation we’re confident Mr. Webster would have disputed, if not frowned upon. "It is only the Philistine" (wrote Wilde in his admiring memoir of Thomas Griffiths Wainewright) "who seeks to estimate a personality by the vulgar test of production."

 
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