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date: 12 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Quotation evidence is the bedrock of a historical dictionary. The relationship between a definition and its accompanying quotations is particularly close. In a historical dictionary (at least in modern times) the illustrative quotations are drawn from the empirical data on which the definitions have been based. The practices adopted in Oxford English Dictionary (OED), and Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru: A Dictionary of the Welsh Language (GPC), are examined in their historical and contemporary contexts. Topics include: the impact of entry structure on quotation evidence and definitions; the challenges of obsolete or obsolescent words and meanings; figurative and transferred usage; the role of defining guidelines; use of labels or tags. The role of reading programmes and quotation slips are investigated, and the use of different special types of evidence, for example from manuscript sources, dictionaries, or electronic or digitized resources. The dating, selection, and presentation of illustrative quotations are examined.

Keywords: historical dictionaries, historical lexicography, evidence, illustrative quotations, defining, reading programmes, electronic resources, digitized resources

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