Don’t Always Trust a Dictionary

Don’t always trust a dictionary—or as the Germans might say, “Vertraue nicht immer einem Wörterbuch!”

Why, you ask?

Well, let’s just say that words can be tricky little devils, and even the most well-meaning dictionary can lead you astray.

Take the word “set,” for example.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “set” has over 400 different meanings and uses. That’s right, four HUNDRED!

So if you rely solely on a dictionary to understand the word “set,” you might end up more confused than a penguin at the equator.

And don’t even get me started on idioms.

Imagine trying to understand the phrase “it’s raining cats and dogs” by looking up each individual word in a dictionary. You’d probably end up thinking that the skies were literally filled with furry creatures!

Of course, I’m not saying you should throw your dictionaries out the window (please don’t, they’re heavy and could hurt someone).

But when it comes to learning English, it’s important to remember that language is a living organism that can’t always be contained within the pages of a book.

So the next time you come across a word or phrase that doesn’t quite make sense, don’t be afraid to ask an advanced speaker or do a little extra research.

And if all else fails, just smile and nod and hope for the best.

It’s worked for me so far!


  1. Dear Christine,
    that is quite nice your comment concerning those ”’dangerous ” dictionaries!
    😉 thank you!

    • I‘m pleased you like my comment, dear Gabi. 😄


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