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Quote of the Day (So Far!)

Garrison Keillor on one of humanity's greatest achievements.

4:46 PM, Feb 1, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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From today's "Writer's Almanac":

The longest entry in the 1989 edition is the word "set" in its verb form: There are more than 430 listed ways the verb "set" is used. The entry for the verb "set" is 60,000 words long, the equivalent of a modestly sized novel. The Bible is quoted more than any other work in the Oxford English Dictionary, and Shakespeare is quoted more than any other single author. Of Shakespeare's works, Hamlet is quoted the most — there about 1,600 quotations from Hamlet alone in the OED.

He's talking about the Oxford English Dictionary. The concise edition is here. Also recommended: Simon Winchester's Professor and the Madman, a great story about the making of the dictionary.

The dictionary was an exercise in cooperative knowledge, similar in some ways to Wikipedia. Among the differences between the two: the OED is authoritative and a whole lot heavier.

Bonus S.J. Perelman quote from today's Almanac: "I guess I'm just an old mad scientist at bottom. Give me an underground laboratory, half a dozen atom-smashers, and a beautiful girl in a diaphanous veil waiting to be turned into a chimpanzee, and I care not who writes the nation's laws."

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