Mining OED for Multiple Definitions of a Word
Many of us arrive in college thinking that there is only one “right” definition for each word, and that the dictionary provides us with this “proper” definition. This is far from accurate.
Essay 2 asks you to play with multiple ways of defining and understanding the word “virus,” in light of your experiences during the 2019-2020 Covid pandemic. For this assignment I want us to take inspiration from Jesse McCarthy’s essay on the different meanings of the word “trap.” McCarthy turns early on in his text to the Oxford English Dictionary in order to locate interesting and obscure ideas relating to the meaning of his word of interest (“trap”). Similarly, I want us to “mine” (meaning “look for”) different definitions of the term “virus” from the OED
What I want you do is simple:
–Go to the OED (log in using your City Tech info)
–Find and copy in your response below two or more odd definitions related to the word “virus”
–Discuss anything unusual, interesting, funny, or otherwise bizarre that you notice about these different meanings related to “virus”—as well as any questions or points of confusion you experience in reviewing these meanings.
–Lastly, discuss how looking through the different definitions of the term virus has changed the way you think about this word—and, perhaps, the 2019-2020 pandemic.