The dictionary used to be a very different book, meant for much more than listing definitions.
From the blog post linked below:
"The first thing you’ll notice is that the example sentences don’t sound like they came out of a DMV training manual (“the lights started flashing”) — they come from Milton and Shakespeare and Tennyson (“A thought flashed through me, which I clothed in act”)."
After reading James Somers' post about adding the 1913 Webster's dictionary to his system I gave it a try. The old dictionary sometimes has archaic definitions but is generally much more useful and even entertaining to use.