Cuchuflete suggested I start a new thread with this post I made when The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language was mentioned. It's the one commonly referred to first on the http://dictionary.reference.com site. My default dictionary tends to be the American Heritage-- I acquired my hard copy over 40 years ago (yike!). One reason I like it is that it emphasizes etymology over usage, and has one of the first glossaries of the reconstructed Indo-European Ursprache ever included in a dictionary meant for the general public. It also orders entries with multiple definitions in a manner that reflects their evolution to some degree. Original meaning(s) first, then the major variants that have evolved, then the minor ones, then the obscure and archaic-- coming full cycle as it were. This works great for me, but it's a quirk of lexicography that can mislead people who use a dictionary simply to look up meanings. The entry for lovely is a perfect example of this idiosyncratic feature of the American Heritage Dictionary. In no way would I ever use the word in its original, and first-listed, sense-- and if I ever heard it so used I'm sure it would jar my attention and stick in my memory. I guess the reasoning is, if you list the "preferred" sense of a definition first, your dictionary will eventually become obsolete in a generation or two. It will lack neologisms, but most of us pick up those in everyday usage, and it does take a while for the enduring ones to sort out. I cringe at the annual list of "updated entries" that comes out-- some of them are dated by the time they make their official debut!