Want The 1934 Definition of a Word?

QUESTION FROM A SITE VISITOR: "I'm curious about these 1934 definitions! Mostly what I want to know is the 1934 websters definition of the word 'sober'. I mean, there's a LOT more I want to know. But, at the moment, that's the big one. — Anonymous"


ANSWER: I apologize, but time does not permit me to look up words on request. Fortunately, most city and/or university libraries have this same 1934 dictionary somewhere in their building. You will be surprised how willing the reference librarians are to find this huge old book and let you look at it.


The book to ask for is titled "Webster's New Internatoinal Dictionary - Second Edition". Yours may not be copyrighted 1934, but as long as it is NOT the Third Edition, it should be very helpful.


You should probably mention to the librarian that you are interested in the definitions of common words in America during that period. (This will prevent them from steering you toward less relevant books such as the Oxford English Dictionary, which deals primarily with more ancient roots of English words.)


It is worth remembering that this dictionary was published a few years before the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Revolutionary new ideas concerning alcoholism and sobriety that AA introduced around 1940 were still unknown to the Webster's staff in 1934. That staff regarded a "sober" person as someone in the general population who drank in moderation—clearly NOT how Bill W. and the others defined a "sober" alcoholic. Even the word "alcoholic" was defined as any item containing alcohol (i.e., an alcoholic drink) rather than a label for someone who had lost control over alcohol.

My sincerest congratulations for your interest in the original Twelve Step writings. The dictionary deepened my determination to go to meetings, work with sponsorship, and work work work the Steps. The Higher Power who came into my daily living as a result has allowed me to stay sober one Today at a time.
God bless you and keep you,


—TwelveDrawings

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