I continue to hold my love of dead-tree versions of books, if only because I can get many of them for free, from the Library – and often in LARGE PRINT. To you, with failing eyes, we throw – something you may more easily read. I am becoming more habituated and inured to the Kindle book variants, especially since a couple of authors, whose series I follow, publish only electronically.
One of the benefits to Kindle is that, when the writer uses an esoteric or unfamiliar word, I need only poke the screen to get a dictionary meaning. I had hoped that the meaning of every word used in each book would be available, but the dictionary file is on-board, not accessed on the internet. That hope was dashed, repeatedly, by a recent book.
I read, I knew by the cant of his head, so I poked CANT in the eye – actually, in the A. I got back, an expression of enthusiasm for high ideals – a sermon or extended oration. Neither of those seemed to fill the bill, so I took a taxi over to Dictionary.com, which told me that my ‘cant’ meant, a salient angle – a slanted or tilting position.
On the next page, They had not hung the celebratory bunting. Kindle only offered me two small, seed-eating birds, one European, one American. My online dictionary was far more generous. First it told me that bunting was a baseball play, where a pitched ball is gently returned by a stationary bat, or, it could be a hooded sleeping garment for infants (also, bunting bag). Finally, it admitted that bunting was patriotic and festive decorations made from coarse cloth, or from paper, usually in the form of draperies, wide streamers, etc., in the colors of the national flag. That’s the one I needed. Busy word!
The story said, “Fashion was becoming important. Lacing emphasized waists, and skirts flared out with gores.” I poked the word ‘gores,’ and got, Gore, Al, Vice-President of the United States. It’s a good thing they weren’t playing cards, or I’d have been told that trump was the President. Their boat-launching site was a couple of klicks past the fort. I should have known better. Kindle claimed that klicks meant the same as clicks. Now see here, Kindle, see also: slang, (mainly) military, diminutive of kilometers.
At last, the literary bad guy, returned to his hant. When I prodded Kindle, it told me that Han was a Chinese river, or a dynasty from 206 B C to 220 A D. Interesting, but that’s not even the same word. Dictionary.com only told me that hant was the Scottish form of the verb – to haunt. I had to go further afield for this one.
I eventually found that, from that Scottish verb form, came the noun which means, an often light-duty structure, temporarily or intermittently occupied, such as a party tent, duck blind or fishing hut. This all qualifies as an episode of Things I Learned While Researching Other Things.
I am surprised that I was never asked, Did you mean can’t? I can’t wait to see what I publish in a couple of days. Are you as excited as I am? 😉