Know Your Words · The Art of the Dictionary

Dig This Damn Diagram!

It was one of those nights wherein I couldn’t fall asleep. Staring at the ceiling, I listened as insects chirped in the warm night air, cars whooshed by on nearby streets, and sirens screamed in the distance. Despite the noise, ideas rose from the inky-black depths of my brain, danced in the forefront of my mind for a minute or two, and then vanished back into the ether from which they came. Why the came in the order they did I’m not sure, for none seemed connected to its predecessor. Naturally, most of the ideas or thoughts that crossed my mind were ridiculous. One or two were profound and a few, like the following, were … interesting.

Dig this Damn Diagram!

Damn Diagram

Why I began to ponder sentence diagrams on this sleepless night I can’t say, but thinking about them made me wonder: If you can diagram a sentence, can you diagram a word? As the above graphic demonstrates, you can!

Why I picked the word damn I don’t know, but I’ll be damned if what I’ve produced here isn’t one cool diagram!

I know, it’s (probably) not perfect. I likely missed a line connecting this to that or I forgot to include one damned thing or another. Nevertheless, I think you get the idea that this graphic approach to delving into a word’s meaning, history, and usage (along with other, related factoids) is equally as effective in conveying the information I typically try to get across in words.

One of the things this graphic doesn’t include is the name of the dictionaries and other sources I used to generate this graphic. Here they are:

Definitions – Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language
Etymology – Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English
Theology – The Encyclopedia of Hell (Van Scott)
First Use – Compact Oxford English Dictionary (Partridge)
Cultural Expressions – Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins

 

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