Dictionary Stories

Very short stories composed entirely of example sentences from the dictionary.

What He Is

He’s a deeply sick man from whom society needs to be protected. He’s an egotistical, mean-spirited, abusive man. He’s a lying, cheating, snake in the grass. He’s a treacherous brain-damaged old vulture. He’s emerged as a racist and an anti-feminist. He’s a shameless publicity seeker. He’s arrogant and opinionated. He’s all talk. He’s a bumbling fool. He’s a real character. He’s a bit of a womanizer. He’s by no means the only senior politician who has mislaid his moral compass. He’s being unfairly ganged up on. He’s as devious as a politician needs to be. He’s a good guy at heart. He’s a very strong leader, very presidential in his performance. He’s very much a man of the people. After a while, you get used to it.

Floor Exercise

1. Sit on the floor, and spread your legs.
2. Keeping your mouth closed, breathe in through your nostrils. Try to keep calm.
3. Lie down and bring your knees up toward your chest.
4. Lying flat on your back, twist your body onto one side. Keep still.
5. Keep your knees slightly bent, and keep your head up. Keep still.
6. Just stop talking and listen to me.
7. Stand up straight with both arms at your sides.
8. Stop crying and pull yourself together. 
9. Repeat this exercise five times a week.
10. Why don’t you go upstairs and lie down? 

News — A New Site! A New Look! A New Hope!

Dictionary Stories has that distinctive New Website Smell, and much more besides. Find out more about what you’re looking at.  Read more

Pasadena, 11pm

We met by accident at a party in Los Angeles. The music was so loud that I had to strain to hear what she was saying. She was a tall, dark woman, with an unusual face—a work of art. She wore pink lipstick. She wore a cream silk shirt. She wore a blue skirt with white stripes. I was sure I’d seen her before.

We went down some steps into the garden, and she put some dry sticks on the fire. There was something strange about the way she spoke. She told me her husband was dead, that she was from a traditional Jewish family. She gazed into the fire. The colour suddenly faded from her cheeks.

“Have you ever fired a gun before?”

I stared at her blankly.

“How happy are you with regard to your work?” 

Her bracelets jingled on her thin wrist. We looked at each other in silence. She gave a little smile.

“You really are serious about this, aren’t you?”

She threw a bucket of water on the fire.

“You can reach me at this phone number.”

Harry Potter and the Once-In-A-Lifetime Business Opportunity in Southern California

I was doing the ironing when he called—the actor Daniel Radcliffe who plays the hero in the Harry Potter films. He asked me to go to California with him. He plans to plant fruit trees. It was a very difficult decision to make, but my job was making me miserable, and citrus fruits are a good source of vitamin C.

Spy vs. Spy vs. Spy vs. Spy

The double life of a freelance secret agent? My nerves are shot. This is all getting too deep for me. At about ten at night, I got a call. A cold, dead voice. He told me my telephones were tapped and I was being watched—they see me as a traitor, a sellout to the enemy.

     I never thought Stash would rat on me. Times have changed. He had seen which way the wind was blowing. How cold and calculating he was. Little did he know what wheels he was putting into motion.

     Trusting to the cover of night, I ventured out. I went to see Caroline, but nobody was at home. The garden was overgrown and deserted. Mary vanished without a trace. Lizzie seemed to vanish into thin air, as if her presence were merely notional. I should never have trusted her.

     My own friends sold me down the river. A cabal of dissidents. A pack of wolves baying at the moon. It looked like curtains for me.

Base Camp

“Can I ask you something?”
“Yes, of course.”
Why is she here?”
“Susan and I do everything together. She’s a wise woman.”
“She’s an 83-year-old pensioner who still enjoys cycling.”
“She’s a bit deaf, but her mind is still sharp.”
“She is now totally deaf.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t follow.”
“You really are serious about this, aren’t you?”
“She’s a calm, patient woman.”
“Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world.”
“As you get older it’s important to keep active.”
For a few seconds, nobody spoke. A strong wind was blowing from the north.
“Well, shall we go?”

Personal Assistant

I am writing in reference to your advertisement for a personal assistant. I can type your essays for you. I’m a fast reader. Do you take sugar in your coffee? I worked as a teacher for 40 years. I set my alarm clock for seven o’clock every morning. I do yoga twice a week. I like most types of music. I’ve been singing professionally for 10 years. I like singing hymns. I am a Roman Catholic priest. It is impossible for me to get another job at my age. If I get this job, I’ll be able to buy a new car. You can reach me at this phone number. Please make your decision as soon as possible. I will always love you, whatever happens.

1 New Message

Please leave a message after the beep.

“Listen to me, I haven’t got much time; my flight leaves in less than an hour. You are in a very dangerous situation. Do as I say or else I won’t help you. 

A non-stop flight from London takes you straight to Antigua. There’ll be a car waiting for you, a car with foreign number plates. Every church here was named after a saint. It’s a high road along a mountain ridge. There is a footbridge that spans the little stream. The house has a large backyard. Dial the number, followed by the hash sign. Are you paying attention to what I’m saying? Lie down on your bed and make yourself comfortable

Don’t do anything that might cause suspicion. Try learning some relaxation techniques. Put on some nice soothing music. Get regular exercise. Do you understand what I’m telling you, Sean? In this game, there are no rules. Detectives are still searching for the four men. They’ll be back in three days. Be quiet and go to sleep. I’ll call you soon.”


I’ve got a sick cousin over Fayetteville way. Her sight’s none too good. I rang her this morning; she said she missed me something fierce.

Her boyfriend left her for another woman. I heard tell that he went out west. She grew her hair long, decided to change her name, moved into that barn of a house. After the accident she didn’t feel up to driving. She took to her room and was not at home to friends.

It was easier in the old days. We had a good time, animals in close confinement. We used to go hunting. We done a lot of rodeoin’. We were always within sound of the train whistles, the lowing of cattle, the distant bark of some farm dog, the spit and hiss of a cornered cat, tunes in waltz time… Childhood seemed to last forever. I will never ever forget it.

I’d better give her a ring tomorrow.

Underlined words are those responsible for each example sentence.