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Advent

I’ve been using two dictionaries for this project. I’m drawing my word list from a paper-based version of The New Penguin English Dictionary (1986). Paper-based dictionaries are better for this purpose because you can read them sequentially.

I’ve also been using the dictionary bundled with Mac OS/X, the New Oxford American Dictionary, for further support and inspiration.

Until now, I had preferred the content of the Penguin dictionary, although the ease of an online dictionary also has its advantages. Upon reaching the word advent, my content preference is shifting toward the Oxford dictionary. In the Penguin dictionary, there is an entry for Advent (i.e., with an upper case “A”). The word advent (lower case “a”) is one of three definitions under the Advent entry.

The Oxford dictionary in Max OS/X, on the other hand, has a listing for advent, and mentions Advent under it. Bravo Oxford, sort of. But why Advent is there at all baffles and annoys me.

The lower-cased advent means the coming of a notable person, place or event. For example, one might say, “The advent of Twitter forced people to condense their thoughts to 140 characters. In a great many cases, that is still 140 characters too many.”

Upper-cased Advent is the season leading up to Christmas. Some observant Christians fast and pray during this period, which lasts for four weeks. I’m not of that persuasion, so I don’t know, but I’m assuming that they don’t fast for the entire four weeks. The resulting deaths by starvation would tend to cut down greatly on the numbers of faithful.

In Christian theology, Advent also refers to the coming of Christ.

Here’s my complaint with The New Penguin English Dictionary (1986), why the hell does the Christian Advent get top billing over the secular advent? The world isn’t all Christian. In fact, the majority of the world’s population consists of either believers in another religion or atheists. In light of that, why do Christians get special consideration in the dictionary? In my opinion, it’s not fair. Not at all.

Please join me as I rally for the separation of church and dictionary. It’s the right thing to do.

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