I wrote briefly about the The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition in this post, but limited myself to calling it (and the Times Atlas) “unbelievably gorgeous, superb products of the bookmaker’s art”; happily, Victor Mair has posted a thorough appreciation of that wonderful book at the Log. He is even more nuts about it than I am; he owns all five editions (and bought multiple copies of the latest), and writes: “I will confess that AHD, from the first edition, has always been my ‘number one’ reference work and, if I were going to be exiled to Xinjiang or Siberia or marooned on a desert island, the one book, indeed, the single belonging that I would want to take with me, would — without any hesitation whatsoever — be the AHD.” Read his post if you’re not already familiar with this great work of American lexicography.


  1. Garrigus Carraig says

    The first three reasons Dr Mair cites for his fondness for AHD are my first three reasons as well. Also, he is my favorite Logger. Also, he makes me nervous.

  2. J.W. Brewer says

    I was looking at my old AHD the other day (acquired when I was in 8th grade, thus 1978 or 1979) to find spelling-challenge words for my sixth-grader. It’s old enough that there’s no “Xinjiang,” just “Sinkiang-Uigur Autonomous Region.”

  3. The first update to the fifth edition has just been released both in print and on line.

  4. Exciting news, thanks for passing it along!

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