National Dictionary Day comes but once a year, and we're whooping it up!

Why is Dictionary Day celebrated on October 16th? It's the birthday of the pioneering American lexicographer Noah Webster, whose life and legacy we've touched on in a number of articles: "Noah Webster at 250: A Visionary or a Crackpot?," "The Case for Dictionary Day," "The Birth of Webster's Dictionary," and "Dictionary Day and the Quest for All-American Words."

The great man could only have dreamed about a dictionary like the one on, with its display of word families and frequency data, sentence examples pulled from contemporary newspaper and literature sources, a pronunciation feature, interactive thesaurus functionality, as well as friendly explanations for more than ten thousand of the words our users most want to learn.

To see what we mean, check out this handwritten draft of Webster's first dictionary, courtesy of Yale University. (For $10,000 you could own a fragment of Webster's handwritten manuscript for your very own.)

Then scan through a page from Webster's Compendious Dictionary of 1806.

Finally, read one of our fully 21st-century word blurbs, breaking down the word hirsute in memorable fashion.

We've come a long way, baby. Uh...we mean Mr. Webster. Sir.

In any case, we'll be tweeting word blurbs like this all day, so be sure to follow @VocabularyCom on Twitter, or just page through our Dictionary's fun random word feature for more!