Saturday, August 23, 2008

What is City Dictionary?

If you'd like to dig deeper than our 'About Us' page and need to better understand what City Dictionary is all about, let's start with what we're not:

  • We're not an encyclopedia. An encyclopedia will give you the "official" rundown of a city with the bulk of the information in a single entry. This is certainly not us. We think that a city is best digested in small chunks of text, each of which tells its own story as a stand-alone cultural artifact. An encyclopedia can also bore you to sleep by sticking to the sterile facts about a city, whereas our Citizens at City Dictionary let visitors know about the subtleties that make a city unique and exciting.
  • We're not a database of city stats. Do you want to know the historical average rainfall for Philadelphia in April? There are plenty of places to find odd factoids like that, but that's not here.
  • We're not a restaurant review site. Don't get me wrong--we love review sites and certainly encourage our Citizens to define restaurants in their cities, but we're much more than a restaurant resource. We're a complete insider's reference to U.S. cities. If it's important to the city linguistically, culturally, politically, historically, economically, et al, it deserves an entry on City Dictionary.
  • We're not an American slang dictionary. We are a slang dictionary, but one that breaks a word's or expression's importance down to its city of origin or common use. There are plenty of websites that are dedicated to all different sorts of slang, but we're all about the regional differences in slang. So, if you want to know about the hottest text message acronym or that one word all the kids are using these days, there are plenty of outlets. However, if you want city-specific slang, come to City Dictionary.
It's important to make these distinctions to know exactly what City Dictionary is, because when something new comes along it's sometimes difficult to place it into a category. In this case, City Dictionary creates a new category altogether: the local dictionary. The local dictionary (or city dictionary) can be as useful as electronic yellow pages, but ridden with tons of flavor from real locals that makes it fun to browse. Also, the types of entries that are valid in any city's dictionary are only limited by the culture of a city and its people. So, a yellow pages is just a business directory, but a city dictionary is an all-inclusive cultural snapshot of a city.

So, I hope this clarifies some things and gets you excited about providing local flavor for your own city's dictionary.


Tom @ City Dictionary

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