Dictionary-based Speeches

How familiar is this opening sentence?

“Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘blank’ as …” and then the author of whatever crappy article or book you are reading expounds on syntactical semantics for a paragraph or two.

It’s about time we throw this writing trope out with the trash (let’s include the entire Young Adult novel subgenre while we’re at it). This device may have been interesting at one time but it has lived far past its shelf life.

Listen, if the totality of your reference material is looking up one word in the dictionary then you might as well not even reference anything. You obviously did the minimum research necessary and it’s safe to say your thesis is on shaky ground.