The Library now subscribes to two online dictionaries, and who would have know that dictionaries really were this much fun. The first is The Oxford English Dictionary, and it has the definitions of over 600,000 words with millions of quotations from historical documents. Some of the words you'll find pretty amusing. For example, your parents have been going away for the weekend to guddle but they won’t tell you what they’re up to? Look up guddle and you see that it is to catch fish with your bare hands.
And if you want a real laugh, look up LOL. It's defined as
Originally and chiefly in the language of electronic communications: ‘ha ha!’; used to draw attention to a joke or humorous statement, or to express amusement.
LOL actually goes back to the late 80s. There's a quote from May 8, 1989 from an early online message board, FidoNews, “LOL – Laughing Out Loud”.
Our other new online dictionary, Oxford Dictionaries, is less historical and more current. They define LOL a little differently:
(chiefly in electronic communication) used to draw attention to a joke or amusing statement, or to express amusement: I love how you said ‘coffee is not my cup of tea’. LOL!
More fun uses:
Miss Manners says that nicknames are useful for when you forget your spouse's name. Maybe you've used the term "Dear" a bit too often. Type in "dear" using the thesaurus option by the search bar, and you get a few choice words: dearest, darling, sweetheart, pet.
Pet? When did people start calling their beloved pet? With the link over towards the right side of the page, you can go back to Oxford English Dictionary, where it defines Pet as
a. An indulged, spoiled, or favourite, child.
b.Any person who is indulged, spoiled, or treated as a favourite, esp. in a way that others regard with disapproval. Also (occas.) used of a thing.
c. A sweet, obedient, or obliging person. Freq. used as a term of endearment, or as a familiar form of address.
Of course, calling someone a pet is kind of patronizing. To answer my question, though, there is a quotes from as far back as the 18th century. So people still use pet, but how about not forgetting your spouse's name?
There are too many interesting and cool features in these dictionaries to list them all here but here is one more: Are you a writer working on an historical novel? On the advanced search page you can indicate both usage and origin of words. So if you need words from the Indian subcontinent to describe a woman, you can end up with a list of words: begum, Devi, memsahib, shrimati. There are definitions so you will know if you're making the right choice.
That’s all I have time for this post. Farewell, adieu, au revoir, ciao, adios; bye, bye-bye, so long, see you later, see you, sayonara; bon voyage; cheers, and toodle-oo!