[conspire] kdict

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Jul 13 14:18:59 PDT 2004

Quoting bruce coston (jane_ikari at yahoo.com):

> Actually i figured out what they were doing immediately after hitting
> send and its a horribly over-technical distinction that will hideously
> mislead all but the top ~1% of dictionary users, thus its a good 1 4
> me but awful on the whole. 

Mercy me, it's a pleasure to find someone who even cares about the
quality of dictionaries.  It makes me have hope for the quality of
public discourse.  

Personally, I fall back on http://www.m-w.com/ for many things, but I
suppose it would be really delightful to have better references
available programmatically:

  ~ $ dict blunderbuss
  2 definitions found

  From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913]:

    Blunderbuss \Blun"der*buss\, n. [Either fr. blunder + D. bus
       tube, box, akin to G. b["u]chse box, gun, E. box; or
       corrupted fr. D. donderbus (literally) thunder box, gun,
       1. A short gun or firearm, with a large bore, capable of
          holding a number of balls, and intended to do execution
          without exact aim.
       2. A stupid, blundering fellow.

  From WordNet (r) 2.0 [wn]:

         n : a short musket of wide bore with a flared muzzle

Ah, I hear faint echos of the OED.  

It's now traditional to test dictionaries using that word, ever since
J.R.R. Tolkien in his tongue-in-cheek heroic fantasy "Farmer Giles of
Ham" gently pilloried the editors of the _Oxford English Dictionary_ for
the extremely odd definition they saw fit to include in the first

   Still, property is property; and Farmer Giles had a short
   way with trespassers that few could outface. So he pulled
   on his breeches, and went down into the kitchen and took
   his blunderbuss from the wall. Some may well ask what a
   blunderbuss was. Indeed, this very question, it is said, was
   put to the Four Wise Clerks of Oxenford, and after thought
   they replied: `A blunderbuss is a short gun with a large
   bore firing many balls or slugs, and capable of doing
   execution within a limited range without exact aim. (Now
   superseded in civilised countries by other firearms.)'

   However, Farmer Giles's blunderbuss had a wide mouth
   that opened like a horn, and it did not fire balls or slugs, but
   anything that he could spare to stuff in. And it did not do
   execution, because he seldom loaded it, and never let it off.
   The sight of it was usually enough for his purpose. And
   this country was not yet civilised, for the blunderbuss was
   not superseded: it was indeed the only kind of gun that
   there was, and rare at that. People preferred bows and
   arrows and used gunpowder mostly for fireworks.

> Still using kanotix myself but wondering about the libranet distro.
> i'm thinking i may want to change kanotix to sarge from experimental

<choke>  You're tracking the experimental branch?  That's pretty gonzo,
Bruce.  Whoo-hoo!

Cheers,     Founding member of the Hyphenation Society, a grassroots-based, 
Rick Moen   not-for-profit, locally-owned-and-operated, cooperatively-managed,
rick at linuxmafia.com     modern-American-English-usage-improvement association.

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