The Vast Aggregate of Words

Henry Draper’s 1880 photograph of the Orion Nebula, the first ever taken.

The vast aggregate of words and phrases which constitutes the Vocabulary of English-speaking men presents, to the mind that endeavors to grasp it as a definite whole, the aspect of one of those nebulous masses familiar to the astronomer, in which a clear and unmistakable nucleus shades off on all sides, through zones of decreasing brightness, to a dim marginal film that seems to end nowhere, but to lose itself imperceptibly in the surrounding darkness.

from James A. H. Murray’s Introduction to the Oxford English Dictionary quoted by Daniel J. Boorstin in The Discoverers.

One Response to The Vast Aggregate of Words

  1. Karen Edmisten January 10, 2017 at 4:27 pm #

    Love that, Melanie.

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