Sometimes when I'm translating something, I know the meaning of a word, but I feel compelled to look it up anyway. I could just translate the word and move on, since a lot of times just getting the meaning is enough. No brilliant rendering is needed, unless I had to translate an ad campaign in such a way as to have the same impact. In order to be effective, I would have to rack my brain and look up as many synonyms as possible to be effective. That's also true with legal translating--I'd have to be precise. But I've never done that and don't intend to.
But for some reason, I want to see what the synonyms are of certain words, even words such as "however" or "proceed" or "attempt." I think it's a compulsion, and it's also a symptom of language nerdiness. Also, since I don't have a language group to discuss stuff with (like the 19th century French artists had when they hung out in cafes), then looking up words is like having a conversation about what I'm reading. So I'm essentially saying to a dictionary, "what do you think?" and the dictionary or website or whatever is responding.
Such is modern life within our technological reality.
Is there a word (lexomania?) for the compulsion to look things up?
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