“The Definition of a Dictionary”

Merriam-Webster is revising its most authoritative dictionary. It’s adjusting itself, so to speak, for the digital age.  And this raises a question:  what should a dictionary look like nowadays? Writing for Slate, Stefan Fatsis, dwells on the matter. 

By the high-gloss, high-tech standards of 21st-century corporate life, the headquarters of America’s premier dictionary publisher is an unusual place. Merriam-Webster Inc. is housed in a two-story brick building in Springfield, Massachusetts, that, if not for the bas-relief dictionary and company name above the front door, could pass for an old elementary school. There’s a broad central staircase, and dowdy conference rooms, linoleum floors, and creaky wooden doors, even some hospital-green and cafeteria-yellow walls. The decor is a mishmash of stately oak desks from the 1940s and gray cubicles from the 1990s.

Read the rest here.