My first news editor didn't like to see his reporters consulting the newsroom dictionary. "If you're having to look a word up," he'd growl, "then it's too complicated for the readers. Use a simpler one."
I always felt uneasy about the reductive nature of his argument. If everybody followed his logic, wouldn't the English language contract and ultimately disappear? And didn't we owe it to our readers to make sure we were being precise in our usage? Not that I ever managed to pluck up the courage to take him on; he was far too scary. But I wonder what he'd have made of the New York Times's online system that allows readers to click on any word they're not sure of to obtain a dictionary definition.