The Challenge: Read every entry in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary by 1 years’ time.
The Rules: Every entry must be read within the time allotted. This includes all definitions, biographies, and encyclopedic information. Introductions and appendices do not have to be read.
The Iffy Stuff: Nothing.
The Exceptions: None.
Start: March 16th, 2016
End: March 15th, 2017 (11:59 pm)
[Edit: The original parameters were for a 6 month challenge, not 12 months. Due to the particular demands of reading the dictionary, the duration was changed to 12 months to better reflect the reality of the challenge. – March 30, 2016]
This one has been on my bucket list for a few years. You see, I love words. More than that, though, is the fact that there are so many words out there that I’ve never even heard of and that limits my vocabulary. There might be a word that describes perfectly that gorgeous sunset, and though the term gorgeous gives you an idea of how magnificent it is, it doesn’t fully capture it. Maybe it’s resplendent. Maybe it’s splendiferous or maybe, just maybe, the right word is waiting for me to discover it in the 1,815 pages, 300,000 definitions, 4.6 pounds of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary.
I chose this version because it is the most comprehensive outside of the 20 volume set (which was tempting to take on, but I was convinced otherwise due to its $1000 price tag and to a lesser extent the fact that it would possibly take my entire lifetime to finish). I am also a Canadian so it makes sense that I would delve into our words more than the words of elsewhere. That being said, the research that went into this sucker included 50 million words from American, British, Australian and other English sources…. So I think it’s got things covered.
I also think it’s safe to say, it’s no light reading.
The appeal of this challenge isn’t the bragging that comes with crushing a dictionary, it’s what I’ll get out of it by investing my time with these words. It’s not that I want to be loquacious. Or pompous. It about those times when the best you can say about something is that it’s “indescribable.” No, it’s not. You just don’t know the right word for it. When you find the right words, it’s a damn good feeling because there’s no question about it. This is how things are. This is exactly what you want to say.
And, I mean, I’ll probably sound smarter. Right?