It is hard to believe that over twenty years have passed since I first starting writing the Grandiloquent Dictionary. Most of my readers already know the story but for those who do not, it started when I was still in high school. I had plans to go away to University and I knew I wouldn't be able to take my unabridged dictionaries with me due to a lack of dorm space. And so I started writing down a list on my computer of the most interesting words so I would have at least a minimal dictionary of obscure words to take with me. (This was before the rise of the web, and so online dictionaries didn't really exist in a usable form yet).

Then in 1998 I decided to save myself the effort of taking the computer files with me, and so I published my dictionary onto my website. I thought at the time it would be just for my own use, but I left it publicly available in case anyone else I knew wanted to check on a word. I thought maybe one or two friends might use it. I could not have been more wrong.

As one of the first free, online dictionaries on the web, my website exploded with hits from six continents. A few years later I was being contacted by people around the world wanting to create spin-off projects like word-of-the-day calendars, ESL teaching packets, electronic games, etc. My website was being discussed on radio and television programs around the world.

However now it is starting to look dated. Because I wrote it for my own usage, I didn't bother with a pronunciation guide or etymologies. I simply wrote down the words and definitions, and relied on my own knowledge of german, greek and latin to know the pronunciations. That doesn't work in a modern dictionary.

And so some of my loyal fans suggested that I start a crowdfunding campaign, and use the money to hire summer students to rewrite the dictionary for me. To be honest, I don't know if anyone will be interested in supporting it or not, but I am going to give it a try.

Details on the campaign can be found at