My First Dictionary Half A Century

Do you still keep your first dictionary? I still have mine! Let me show you a small part of my dictionary collection…

My first dictionary was actually given to me by my godsister when I was in primary school, probably upper primary in the early 70s. So coincidentally, this dictionary is also called the My First Dictionary;

You see the two stickers on the front cover, and that was what I did to it. I don’t really remember whether these were those type of ‘water tatoos’ stickers – you put them on a pail of water and then place the ‘tatoos’ on your arms or legs or any other surface to apply the stickers. Here you see another one on the page inside;

So this First Dictionary was reprinted in Sep 1958, exactly 51 years ago – half a century! I like this dictionary because of the exercises and questions at the end of the dictionary;

In the past most of us really ‘read’ and ‘study’ the dictionary (use our dictionary throughoutly)  as you can see some of the words were underlined;

Now  my children’s dictionaries are as clean as those in the book stores.

I bought my first personal pocket dictionary when I was in Sec.4 in 1978. It was a Collins pocket dictionary and see – I’ve a Kentucky Fried Chicken sticker on the front cover. You don’t find this KFC sticky anymore now.

This dictionary has been with me for almost 35 yeasrs and now my daughter (Pri.4) is using it;

So between these 2 Oxford dictionaries, which do you think is ‘older’?

Do you think you get the answers right? OK, the white jacket one was reprinted in 1952;

While the dark blue cover one was reprinted in 1949 (60 years old);

I got it wrong too and I thought the one with the white cover was older… These 2 were handed down to me by my father. He probably used these when he was working in his twenties.

Come to think of it, I have more Oxfords at home! So do you still have your first dictionary with you?


21 Responses to “My First Dictionary Half A Century”

  1. 1 profkingsfield2004 Monday, September 7, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    yes i recall the tatoo sticker. You must use water……In primary school we bought this from a provision shop.

  2. 2 profkingsfield2004 Monday, September 7, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    we use dictionary for spelling test like the way u underline the word with a ruler. Then Monday comes, we sat for test. usually test 10-15 words and when real exam comes, all the words we learn for spelling will again be tested.

  3. 3 yg Tuesday, September 8, 2009 at 6:01 am

    lkk, i cannot remember much of my first dictionary. i don’t have it with my anymore. i think it was a thin paperback called the ‘modern dictionary’. i am not an oxford man like you. my constant companion is the ‘longman dictionary of contemporary english’.

  4. 4 laokokok Wednesday, September 9, 2009 at 7:37 am

    Glad you remember the water tatoo Peter. Do you still see any places still selling such? Not the new types but exactly those old water tatoos type.

  5. 5 laokokok Wednesday, September 9, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Hi YG, now my children first dictionary is the Longman Dictionary.

  6. 6 Timothy Friday, September 11, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Hi LKK,

    I’m still amazed by how many things you have collected over the years. My spouse policy is this : when you buy new stuff, throw the old one out.. i don’t know how you manage to convince your wife… but looking back those old items that you used in the past sure bring back good memories.

  7. 7 Lam Chun See Saturday, September 12, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    I think I had that Collins dictionary. Our family’s dictionary was a Chambers. BTW, that picture of the comet in one of the dictionaries .. I think I still see it somewhere.

  8. 8 laokokok Monday, September 14, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Hi Timothy, probably my wife shared the same interest as me.

  9. 9 laokokok Monday, September 14, 2009 at 7:45 am

    I’m surprised to know that you have the same Collins dictionary Chun See. That is a very good pocket size dictionary.

  10. 10 Dan Monday, September 14, 2009 at 9:20 am


    The only old dictionary I could locate is the Chambers Foundation English Dictionary – (5th impress-1968). Alas, the rest might have been given away or disposed.

    During my primary school days, in the late 1950’s, we had English dictation exams. These tested our abilities and competence in listening, writing, reading, spelling and punctuation, .

  11. 11 Lam Chun See Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Congratulations LKK. Heard that you won the OMY award.

  12. 12 yg Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 10:23 am

    congratulations on your winning the individual blog award 2009! finally, we get to see your face.

  13. 13 Dan Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Chris, Congratulations on your success! Now that we know how you look, you can keep all the masks in the cabinet. Haha. I bet that you are aiming for next year’s awards, again. A double?

  14. 14 seenthisscenethat Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Hi Laokokok,

    Congrats on winning the top individual blog award! Looking forward to read more excellent articles on your heritage-related blog.

  15. 15 laokokok Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Thank you Chun See, YG, Dan and Seenthisscencethat.

    YG and Dan, pls erase my face from your memory….thanks.

    Seenthisscencethat, more interesting articles to come.

  16. 16 Kimology Monday, October 26, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    We also have teh same dictionaries as you do. Unfortunately, I only have the small Collins left. Still very useful and handy. But I love the First Dictionary best. It was the first dictionary in our home and it was great fun reading it. Thanks for reminding me of it. The other books I loved was First Aid in English. I managed to get a later edition for my children some years ago and they liked it too. Also, A Student’s Companion.

  17. 17 laokokok Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 7:48 am

    Is that First Aid in English blue in color? I think I have one too but probably tucked in my mother’s storeroom. Yes, that small little Collins is still very useful even now.

  18. 18 Kimology Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    Yes, it was dark blue in color with a white cross and a cover that was neither hard nor soft. I especially loved the part on collective nouns: a bevy of ladies and a school of whales, hehe

  19. 19 Sudesh J W B Don Friday, November 13, 2009 at 12:28 am

    Hi LKKK.

    Really you sent me to my childhood, I thouhgt, thought , though,…..where is it, what happended to it…..?
    Sorry . I am unable to remind it.
    But , One day my son will reply to you about “his first dictionery”.

  20. 20 Bessie Friday, June 14, 2013 at 9:13 pm

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  21. 21 Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 4:21 pm

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    (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what
    I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.

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