17 March 2013

Defining Peter Pan

Opening my dad’s old dictionary this morning, a prize from a Rotary Club spelling bee, the bold guide words Peter Pan jumped out from the top right corner of a page. Yes, the boy who never grew up has an entry in the 1971 blue cloth edition of Webster’s. Immediately above P.P. is the fisherman from Galilee. Jesus is on page 456. On impulse I checked to see if any female players in the stories warrant inclusion. Tinker Bell? Absent. Mary? No. Multiple numbered definitions would be necessary if that noun were listed.

Four score and two years have passed since the publication of my battle-worn Seventh New Collegiate. Online dictionary investigation doesn’t seem the proper theater to research any changes in the mapping of Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Peter, Jesus, and Mary. A field trip to Better World Books to purchase a 2003 printing of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary Eleventh Edition is my strategy. After I learn how the Peter Pan skirmish evolved, as I look up other words and compare the previous and current editions, it will be interesting to discover: what remains unchanged, what is added, what has been deemed irrelevant and left behind.

No comments: