Chambers Dictionary
Book Review

by Derek
(Brisbane, Australia)

Where to get it

For many years now, Chambers have had a stronghold on the word game market. This dictionary is a pure delight to browse for word-buffs, because it caters for all those crazy words you find in crossword puzzles and on Scrabble boards, but never in the real world. I mean, where else will you find delicious entries like EUOI, a cry of Bacchic frenzy, and YRIVD, an obsolete past participle of rive. Yet, despite this indulgence, the dictionary manages to maintain its tractable size.

The reason I first bought the Chambers Dictionary was that it was the chief word source for international Scrabble. Unfortunately, this privilege has since been handed over to Collins, who just don't demonstrate the scholarly attention to detail of Chambers. Even so, the meanings of many of the words allowed in Scrabble today can only be found in Chambers, and even when they can be found elsewhere, the Chambers entry is usually more helpful.

The Chambers Dictionary is also famed for allowing a handful of chuckle-worthy entries to be sprinkled throughout the tome, betraying a playfulness not expected of lexicographers. Like this one...

ECLAIR n. a cake, long in shape but short in duration.

I won't spoil the other surprises for you.

Fired by Mattel or not, Chambers will remain in the service of this here word-buff for many years to come.

Comments for Chambers Dictionary
Book Review

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Chambers's Dictionary editied by James Donald
by: Anonymous

I recently came across a copy of this dictionary at an auction and it sold for 23 thousand pounds! It was the hard back copy, with a brown cover, by James Donald.

I would love to come across this book at a book fair. Very doubtful one will ever be on eBay by James Donald, but I'll keep looking.

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