Quotes from Dictionary of Lost Words

Quotes from The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

Hello Readers! I totally forgot I wrote this in draft until I was looking at what to post next. These quotes reminded me how much I loved this book and it will be one of my most favourite books this year. It is still fresh in my mind and I think this story will stay with me for long. If you missed my review, you can check it out HERE.

Quotes from The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

A name must mean something to be in dictionary.

Some words are more important than others- I learn this, growing up in the Scriptorium. But it took me a long time to understand why.

‘What happens to the words that are left out?’
They go back in the pigeon-holes. If there isn’t enough information about them, they’re discarded.’
‘But then they might be forgotten if they’re not in the dictionary.’

‘And then I was born and then she died.’
‘But when we talk about her, she comes to life.’
‘Never forget that, Esme. Words are our tools of resurrection.’

Convention has never done any woman any good.

‘An important word.’
I smiled. ‘They are all important, Mr Sweatman.’
‘Of course, but some mean more than we might imagine,’ he said. ‘I sometimes fear the Dictionary will fall short.’
‘How could it not?’ I forgot I was in hurry. ‘Words are like stories, don’t you think, Mr Sweatman? They change as they are passed from mouth to mouth; their meanings stretch or truncate to fit what needs to be said. The Dictionary can’t possibly capture every variation, especially since so many have never been written down.

Vulgar words, as you call them, are the usual casualties. No matter the evidence for their inclusion, there are some who would wish such words away. For my part, I think they add colour. A vulgar word, well placed and said with just enough vigour, can express far more than its polite equivalent.

‘Some words are more than letters on a page, don’t you think?‘ she said, tying the sash around my belly as best as she could. ‘They have shape and texture. They are like bullets, full of energy, and when you give one breath you can feel its sharp edge against your lip. It can be quite cathartic in the right context.’

A chip doesn’t stop it from holding tea.

If war can change the nature of men, it would surely change the nature of words.

The Dictionary, like the English language, is a work in progress.

(This was in author’s note and I love it)

‘This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon’ 

Thank you for reading! Let’s chat…

What do you think about these quotes? Have you read this book already or going to add it to TBR?


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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”


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