What’s the definition of the word ‘achievement’? To answer this your first thought might be to look the word up in a dictionary. Indeed, this week Tom Chivers has written an excellent article discussing why he thinks of The Oxford English Dictionary as ‘one of humanity’s greatest achievements’. But what if you looked up ‘achievement’ in Johnson’s seminal dictionary of 1755? Or any of the multitude of examples you can find in the British Library? Do you think you’d find the same answer? With ‘adorkable’ recently finding its way into the Collins English Dictionary, all these topics lead the English or Language enthusiast to absolutely key questions about their subject. Where does meaning lie? Can you pin down the meaning of a word? And if the answer is no, then why do authors bother writing anything down at all?
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