The digital age has transformed dictionaries, arguably for the better, says The Chronicle of Higher Education. While there’s a certain nostalgia for the weighty bound tomes of the past, digital dictionaries open up a new world of words, word-making and cultural trend spotting.
E-dictionaries “can be updated far more easily and often than their print cousins, and they can incorporate material like audio pronunciations and thesauruses. Unsuccessful word look-ups, or searches that don’t produce satisfying results, can point lexicographers to terms that haven’t yet made their way into a particular dictionary or whose definitions need to be amended or freshened,” The Chronicle says. Plus dictionaries track current events by the words people rush to look up. “‘Plantagenet’ for instance, has made a strong showing since the news broke that researchers in Britain had identified the bones of Richard III.”