Another sign that “change” and “progress” are not synonyms

Readers know that my first accomplishment that got notice beyond my family was my ability to win spelling bees.

For those who care, I won five school spelling bees and two Madison city spelling bees, and therefore competed in two state spelling bees. The closest I got to winning the state bee was a 10th-place finish.

Therefore I pay some attention to spelling bees, including the national spelling bee, which, like so many things in our society, has gotten sucked up by pop culture to something unrecognizable. And so Sports Illustrated writes:

Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged isn’t a book so much as it is an institution. It is physically unwieldy, nearly unmanageable, with more than two thousand pages of densely packed fine print. It is culturally staggering, home to nearly half a million words—which is to say, nearly half a million fragments of collective human knowledge and imagination. It stretches from “a” to “zyzzogeton.” It is not just a catalogue of language, but an extensive manual and an exhaustive history. It is the product of more than a century of research and millions of dollars of investment. And it’s only the foundation for Merriam-Webster Unabridged, the dictionary’s official website, which has even more definitions and quotations and annotations than can be materially contained in the book.

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