== Notes to self ==
Not gold alone brought us hither

Dead Tree Dictionary

Growing up, with no computers around me, the only way to know the definition of a new word was either to ask around or use a dictionary. Things changed with time and now — for decades — the fastest way to look up the meaning of a word is to check online. MacOS also provides a handy keyboard shortcut — CTRL + CMD + d to look up the word under the mouse pointer. With time, my reading habit has shifted away from the screen, to dead tree versions of books, newspapers and news magazines. This has reduced my general levels of stress and anxiety, but I digress. This new shift presents a challenge when I need to use a dictionary. For a long time, I would pick up the phone, open the dictionary app to look up the word. But when I do that, I would often get sucked into other things on the phone such as new emails, messages, and the other app notifications would scream for attention. By the time I realize that I sidetracked, I would lose the original context.

My solution was to dust up the good old dead tree dictionary. I have this Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Eleventh Edition) which I had bought on an impulse, thinking that my children should know what a physical dictionary looks like and should also learn how to use one. They have used it a few times but it sits on the shelf mostly unused. Not any more. Now I keep this dictionary handy when I am reading, and do not hesitate to use it without worrying about the “inefficiency” of using a physical dictionary.

Why do this? Well, I found a few benefits of using a physical dictionary. I don’t get sidetracked. The longer it takes to look up a word also seems to correlate positively with greater retention. And finally, I am able to avoid distractions while reading.