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date: 26 February 2021

(p. 605) A Chronology of Major Events in the History of Lexicography

(p. 605) A Chronology of Major Events in the History of Lexicography

This chronology presents a selection of highlights in the world history of the making of lexical dictionaries. Beyond giving a sense of when some of the oldest lexicographical traditions began, it pays particular attention to the western European languages and, within them, to English. (p. 616)

c.3200 bc

arliest monolingual Sumerian wordlists in cuneiform writing on clay tablets from level IVa of the city of Uruk. These tablets, of which there are about 670, were used in the teaching of the writing system.

c.2400 bc

Earliest bilingual wordlists of Sumerian and the Semitic language Eblaite on clay tablets in Sumerian cuneiform from the archives of the ancient city of Ebla (at Tell Mardikh in modern Syria).

18th cent. bc?

Compilation of the Sumerian–Akkadian lexical tablets known as HAR-ra = h̬ubullu or Urra-hubullu (this is the first entry, for a word meaning ‘interest-bearing debt’), comprising more than 9,700 entries in cuneiform writing.

18th cent. bc

Compilation of the thematically ordered Egyptian list of nouns written in hieroglyphs on papyrus known as the Ramesseum Onomasticon. Subsequent lists of the same sort would be compiled for two millennia: the Tebtunis Onomasticon of the 1st–2nd century ad, a papyrus in hieratic script originally more than ten metres long, exceptionally includes a section of verbs as well as one of nouns.

a.300 bc

Compilation of the Nighaṇṭu, a list of Sanskrit words from Vedic texts, which appears to be the earliest extant lexicographical text from the Sanskrit tradition; a commentary on it, the Nirukta, appears to be no later than the third century bc, and may be earlier.

c.300 bc

Philitas of Cos and Simias (or Simmias) of Rhodes make the first extensive learned collections of glosses of ancient Greek epic and dialect words, initiating the Greek lexicographical tradition. Their work only survives in fragments.

3rd cent. bc?

Compilation of the Erya (‘The Ready Guide’), a thematically-arranged compendium of glosses, covering 4,300 characters, which is the earliest extant Chinese wordlist and had a long tradition of successors.

1st cent. bc

Beginnings of ancient Latin lexicography, in works such as the lost Liber glossematorum of Lucius Ateius Philologus.

a.18 ad

Compilation of the Fangyan (‘Dictionary of Dialectal Words’) attributed to Yang Xiong, which glosses regional varieties of Chinese and words from a few other languages, arguably the earliest dialect dictionary in any tradition.

(p. 606) a.20 ad?

Marcus Verrius Flaccus compiles De verborum significatu, the most important work of ancient Latin lexicography, now known from the second-century abridgement by Sextus Pompeius Festus (itself known from fragments and a yet later epitome, made by Paulus Diaconus in the eighth century).


Xu Shen compiles the Shuowen jiezi (‘Explanatory Dictionary of Chinese Characters’), registering 9,353 characters classified by shared graphic elements, the source of a tradition extending as far as the compilation before 1615 of the Zihui (‘Comprehensive Dictionary of Chinese Characters’) of Mei Yingzuo, which registers 33,179 characters.

2nd cent.?

About 120 words of Tamil are explained in the metrical grammatical text Tolkāppiyam, which may have been compiled gradually over the period 200 bc to 200 ad.

5th–6th cent.

Hesychius of Alexandria compiles an alphabetic lexicon of obscure ancient Greek words, with about 51,100 entries, the oldest Greek dictionary to survive in anything like its original form.

6th cent.?

Amarasiṃha compiles the thematically arranged metrical dictionary known as Amarakoṣa, the most famous of the early lexica of Sanskrit. More than eighty commentaries would be written on it, the earliest around 1000; it would be translated into Burmese, Nevārī, Tibetan, and Mongolian; and it would be mentioned as a forerunner by P. M. Roget in the introduction to his Thesaurus of 1852.


Lu Fayan and others compile the Qieyun (‘Dictionary of Chinese Rhymes’), now known only from later recensions such as the Jiyun, which was edited by a team of lexicographers between 1037 and 1067, and registered 53,525 characters.


Isidore of Seville compiles the Etymologiae, a thematically arranged compendium of learning in which etymological and encyclopaedic information are intertwined, of which nearly a thousand manuscript copies survive.


Compilation of the archetype of the Épinal-Erfurt Glossary, in which some Latin lemmata are glossed in Latin and some in Old English; this is the oldest document in the lexicography of English.

8th cent.

Compilation of the first Irish–Latin glossaries, the most important early members of the tradition being Sanas Cormaic ‘Cormac’s Glossary’, ascribed to Cormac mac Cuillenáin, king of Munster and bishop (1301 entries in its longest form); O’Mulconry’s Glossary (874 entries), and Dúil Dromma Cetta, ‘The Collection of Druim Cett’ (643 entries).

8th–10th cent.?

Compilation of the thematically arranged Tamil metrical dictionary Tivākaram, which registers about 9,500 entries. It is extant in about 100 manuscripts, and in 32 printed editions from the period 1819–1958.

late 8th cent.

Compilation of the Liber glossarum or Glossarium Ansileubi, a compendium of at least 30,000 Latin encyclopaedic notes and short glosses from Isidore and other sources, at an unknown Carolingian centre of learning.


Al-Khalīl ibn-Aḥmad compiles Kitab al-ʿAin, the first Arabic dictionary.


Compilation, for the translators of Buddhist texts, of the Sanskrit–Tibetan sGra sbyor bam po gnyis pa; this, or the roughly contemporaneous Mahāvyutpatti, is the first extant Tibetan dictionary.

9th cent.

Compilation of the Etymologicum genuinum, the most important in a tradition of Byzantine lexical dictionaries with etymological material.

9th cent.

Beginnings of Hebrew lexicography, known from fragmentary Hebrew–Arabic and Hebrew–Persian wordlists, and from reports of the lost Arukh of Zemah ben Paltoi. The Agron of Saadya Gaon, a wordlist of Biblical Hebrew for the use of poets, traditionally dated to 902, is sometimes called the first Hebrew dictionary.

(p. 607) c.900

Shōjū compiles the Shinsen jikyō (‘Mirror of Characters Newly Selected’), a Chinese dictionary registering 21,300 characters, of which some 3,000 have Japanese equivalents; this is the first dictionary to register a significant number of Japanese words.

10th cent.

Menaḥem ben Saruḳ compiles the first systematic dictionary of Biblical Hebrew, the Maḥberet, registering about 2,500 roots and 8,000 derived forms.


Compilation of the Byzantine work known as the Suda or Souda (and formerly as the lexicon of Suidas), comprising some 30,000 lexical and encyclopaedic entries bearing on ancient Greek language and culture.


A compiler known as Papias, perhaps working in Lombardy, completes the Elementarium doctrinae rudimentum, an alphabetically arranged encyclopaedic dictionary, of which at least ninety manuscripts survive. Incunabular editions were printed in Milan and Venice.


Abū Mansūr ʿAlī b. Ahmad Asadi Tūsi compiles the Lughat-i furs, the first wordlist of Persian, registering 1,099 words in the primary manuscript (subsequent manuscripts add 1,192 more).


Maḥmūd Kāšġarī compiles the Dīwān Luġāt at-Turk, a compendium of lexical and cultural material which is the first major monument of Turkic lexicography.


Osbern Pinnock compiles the Panormia or Liber derivationum, a semi-etymological Latin dictionary in which each entry accumulates words derived from the headword, and presents illustrative quotations. Some thirty manuscripts survive.

c.12th cent.

Moggallāna compiles the Abhidhānappadīpikā, the earliest extant lexicon of Pāli, drawing on the Amarakoṣa of Amarasiṃha.

12th cent.

Sun Mu compiles the first Chinese–Korean glossary, registering about 350 words written in Chinese characters.


Nāgavarma II compiles the Abhidhānavastukōśa, a Sanskrit–Kannada dictionary, one of the first lexica to register a Dravidian language other than Tamil.


Hugutio, bishop of Ferrara, compiles his Liber derivationum, a weakly alphabetized dictionary drawing on Papias and Osbern, of which over 200 manuscripts survive, some with alphabetical indexes.


The word dictionarius is coined by the English-born Parisian teacher John of Garland as a title for an elementary Latin textbook.


Giovanni Balbi of Genoa completes the Catholicon, a major alphabetized Latin dictionary which revises the work of Hugutio. This was the first Latin dictionary, and indeed one of the first European books, to be printed: the first incunabular edition bears the date 1460, though some copies with this date are in fact slightly later reprints.

late 14th cent.

The word dictionarium is used as the title of Pierre Bersuire’s alphabetically ordered encyclopedic guide to the interpretation of words in the Vulgate.


The Promptorium parvulorum, compiled by an anonymous Dominican friar, registers about 12,000 English words with Latin equivalents; this is the first substantial dictionary with English lemmata.


Antonio de Nebrija, Lexicon hoc est dictionarium ex sermone latino in hispaniense, a Latin–Spanish dictionary of between 28,000 and 30,000 entries (including multiple entries for different senses of a given word), followed by his Spanish–Latin Dictionarium ex hispaniensi in latinum sermonem in 1495, initiates the post-medieval lexicography of Spanish. It would be much used by bilingual lexicographers of Spanish with European and American languages.


First edition of the Latin Dictionarium of Ambrogio Calepino. 210 further editions would appear, the last in 1779; many of these would be polyglot expansions of the original work, including (in 1595) the first printed dictionary of Japanese and a European language.

(p. 608) 1530

John Palsgrave’s English–French Lesclarcissement de la langue francoyse offers the first sophisticated bilingual dictionary of two living European languages.


First edition of the Latin Dictionarium, seu latinae linguae thesaurus of Robert Estienne (Robertus Stephanus), the foundational work in modern European lexicography. Enlarged editions would follow in 1536 and 1543; Estienne’s work would also be the basis for bilingual dictionaries such as those in the Eliot–Cooper–Thomas–Rider–Holyoke tradition in sixteenth- to seventeenth-century England; those in the tradition extending from Estienne’s own Dictionaire françoislatin (1539: the first book in French to be called a dictionnaire) to Jean Nicot’s Thresor de la langue francoyse (1606) and beyond in France; those in the tradition of Frisus and Maaler in sixteenth- to eighteenth-century Germany; and their monolingual descendants.


Publication of William Salesbury’s A Dictionary in Englyshe and Welshe moche necessary to all suche Welshemen as wil spedly learne the englyshe to[n]gue … whereunto is p[re]fixed a little treatyse of the englyshe pronu[n]ciacion of the letters, the first printed Welsh dictionary, which is also valuable for its description of contemporary English pronunciation.


First edition of Fray Alonso de Molina’s Vocabulario en la lengua castellana y mexicana, the first published dictionary of any language of central or south America, registering 13,866 Spanish headwords with 29,742 Nahuatl equivalents (earlier unpublished dictionaries were a 2,062-word vocabulary in Fray Andrés de Olmos’ unpublished Arte de la lengua mexicana of 1547, and an anonymous Spanish–Latin–Nahuatl dictionary of c.1545, in which about 11,000 of the 15,260 Spanish entries have Nahuatl glosses). An expanded version with a Nahuatl–Spanish dictionary, also by Molina, would be published in 1571.


Laurence Nowell’s Vocabularium saxonicum initiates the lexicography of Old English; unpublished until the twentieth century, it stands at the head of a tradition leading through William Somner’s Dictionarium saxonico–latino–anglicum (1659) to Joseph Bosworth’s Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (1838; revised version by Bosworth [A–G] and T. N. Toller [H onwards] 1882–1921).


First edition, in four folio volumes, of the Thesaurus graecae linguae of Henri Estienne (Henricus Stephanus), the standard dictionary of ancient Greek from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century (a revised edition, ed. Charles Benoît Hase, Wilhelm Dindorf, and Ludwig August Dindorf, was published in 9 volumes 1831–1865), and a model, direct or indirect, for other major European dictionary projects. An unauthorized abridgement of 1579 by Joannes Scapula, called simply Lexicon graecolatinum, circulated very widely.


Cornelis Kiliaan publishes his Dutch–Latin Dictionarium teutonico-latinum, to be revised as Etymologicum teutonicae linguae in 1599 and in subsequent editions, influential in the Low Countries, and used further afield by many scholars of the Germanic languages.


John Florio publishes his Italian–English Worlde of wordes, amply expanded in 1611 as Queen Annas new world of words, with further renamed editions in the seventeenth century; the only similarly rich treatment of the vocabulary of seventeenth-century English would be Randle Cotgrave’s French–English Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues (1611; further eds. with English–French second part 1632 onwards).


Hieronymus Megiser publishes his Thesaurus polyglottus, the first serious attempt at a compendium of lexical data from all the languages, living and dead, of the known world.


Robert Cawdrey publishes his Table Alphabeticall, registering 2,498 ‘hard words’: the first free-standing non-specialized monolingual dictionary of English. Subsequent editions would appear in 1609, 1613, and 1617 (3,264 entries). Other small hard-word dictionaries more or less indebted to Cawdrey’s would be widespread in England throughout the (p. 609) seventeenth century: John Bullokar’s English Expositor (1616; so-called nineteenth edition 1775); Henry Cockeram’s English Dictionarie (1623; twelfth edition 1670); Thomas Blount’s Glossographia (1656; fifth edition 1681); Edward Phillips’s New World of English Words (1658; fifth edition 1696, greatly augmented 1706); and Elisha Coles’s English Dictionary (1676; further editions to 1732). The 1706 revision of Phillips offered about 38,000 entries, developing the tradition which began with Cawdrey beyond recognition.


First edition of Vocabolario degli accademici della Crusca published, in one folio volume, setting a new standard for the large-scale, fully documented treatment of a living European language. Second edition 1623; third (3 vols) 1691; fourth (6 vols) 1729–1738; fifth (11 vols, A–Oz) 1863–1923.


Resolution on 22 March by the members of the newly-founded Académie françoise (subsequently Académie française) to devote themselves to the cultivation of the French language. By early 1635 they had agreed that this might be undertaken in part by the making of a dictionary, on which work had begun by 1637 and would continue until the publication of the Dictionnaire de l’Académie in 1694.


Gilles Ménage, Les Origines de la langue françoise initiates the etymological lexicography of French. Further editions were published 1694 and 1750.


William Lloyd, ‘Alphabetical dictionary’, part of John Wilkins’s Essay towards a real character and a philosophical language, provides the first monolingual treatment of the general vocabulary of English.


Stephen Skinner, Etymologicon linguae anglicanae, the first etymological dictionary of English, is published posthumously; an abridged translation by Richard Hogarth, the Gazophylacium anglicanum, follows in 1689.


John Ray, A Collection of English Words not generally used (dated 1674 on the title-page, but published in the previous year), the first free-standing printed dictionary of English regional usage.


Charles du Cange, Glossarium ad scriptores mediae et infimae latinitatis, the first major dictionary of medieval Latin, published in three folio volumes; subsequent editions appeared in 1733–36 (six volumes) and in 1887 (ten volumes). It was followed in 1688 by du Cange’s dictionary of Byzantine Greek, the Glossarium ad scriptores mediae et infimae graecitatis.


Pierre Richelet, Dictionnaire françois initiates a tradition of large-scale purely monolingual French lexicography. Further editions appeared until the end of the eighteenth century.


Antoine Furetière, Dictionnaire universel pre-empts the publication of the Dictionnaire de l’Académie françoise, and establishes a model for the comprehensive registration of both the general and the technical vocabulary of French.


First edition of Dictionnaire de l’Académie published 24 August, in two folio volumes, followed in September by Thomas Corneille, Dictionnaire des arts et des sciences, in two further volumes, and then by further editions of the main dictionary: 2nd 1718; 3rd 1740; 4th 1762; 5th 1798; 6th 1835; 7th 1879; 8th 1832–35; 9th 1986 (A–Enzyme), 2000 (Éocene–Mappemonde), December 2011 (Maquereau–Quotité).


John Kersey, A New English Dictionary, registers about 28,000 lemmas, including many common words which had not been treated in the hard-word tradition (and had not been readily accessible in Lloyd’s rather recherché work of 1668).


A team of thirty lexicographers working under Imperial sponsorship compiles the Kangxi zidian (‘Imperial Dictionary of Kangxi’), which registers more than 46,000 characters.

(p. 610) 1721

Nathan Bailey, Universal Etymological English Dictionary (further editions to 1802), followed by a so-called second volume in 1727 (actually a separate dictionary; further editions to 1776), a folio Dictionarium Britannicum in 1730, and a revised work issued as A New Universal Etymological English Dictionary in 1755, ed. Joseph Nicol Scott, and registering about 65,000 words.


First edition of the dictionary of the Spanish Academy, Diccionario de la lengua castellana, published in six volumes. A one-volume redaction without illustrative quotations was published 1780, with a 22nd edition 2001.


Samuel Johnson, Plan of a Dictionary of the English Language published early August.


Samuel Johnson, Dictionary of the English Language published 15 April in two folio volumes, registering some 43,000 lemmas, and providing a dictionary of English as elaborate, and as richly supported with quotations, as those of the Accademia della Crusca and the Real Academia Española. Abridged editions appeared 1756 onwards, as did a succession of editions of the full dictionary, the fourth (of 1773) being heavily revised by Johnson; a four-volume revision by H. J. Todd appeared in 1818 and a new revision by R. G. Latham in 1866–1870.


First volume (A–E) of Johann Christoph Adelung, Versuch eines vollständigen grammatisch-kritischen Wörterbuches der Hochdeutschen Mundart, the first substantial monolingual dictionary of German; the fifth and last volume (W–Z) was published 1786, and a new edition, Grammatisch-kritisches Wörterbuch der Hochdeutschen Mundart, 1793–1801.


First volume (A–E) of the first dictionary of the Danish academy, Dansk Ordbog udgiven under Videnskabernes Selskabs Bestyrelse; the 8th and last volume (V–Z) finally appeared in 1905.


Noah Webster’s first dictionary, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language, registers about 40,000 lemmas and promises a greater work to come; this would be published in 1828.


First volume (A–F) of the first monolingual dictionary of Polish, Samuel Gottlieb Linde’s Słownik języka polskiego, running to some 60,000 entries illustrated with several hundred thousand citations, published in December; the 6th and last (U–Z) would appear in February 1815 (dated 1814 on the title page).


John Jamieson, An Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language (2 vols, with a 2-volume supplement in 1825) makes pioneering use of accurately referenced and chronologically ordered illustrative quotations. A revised edition, ed. John Longmuir and David Donaldson, was published 1879–87.


Franz Passow, Über Zweck, Anlage, und Ergänzung griechischer Wörterbücher makes the first explicit statement of the historical principles, already latent in Jamieson’s Scots dictionary of 1808, on which much of the scholarly lexicography of the nineteenth and subsequent centuries would be founded.


First instalment of Charles Richardson’s dictionary of English published 14 February, as part of the first fascicle of the Encyclopaedia Metropolitana, under the general editorship of Samuel Taylor Coleridge; the 58th and last fascicle of the main body of the Encyclopaedia was published in 1844, and the Encyclopaedia was then reissued in 25 bound volumes in 1845, the dictionary having been separately issued (with revision of the material already published in fascicles) as A New Dictionary of the English Language in 1836–37, with subsequent editions 1855 and 1875. Its use of chronologically ordered arrays of quotations anticipated that of the Oxford English Dictionary.

(p. 611) 1819

John Pickering, A Vocabulary, or, Collection of Words and Phrases which have been supposed to be peculiar to the United States (first handwritten draft written 22 February 1810–1 January 1813) provides the first free-standing printed wordlist of a variety of English from beyond the British Isles.


Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language published November (the manuscript having been completed January 1825) in two large quarto volumes, registering some 70,000 lemmas, and showing the influence of Johnson’s Dictionary as revised by Todd in 1818. It would be followed by an abridgement, ed. Joseph Emerson Worcester, in 1829 (with numerous subsequent editions); by a second edition, ed. Webster, dated 1840 but published in 1841; by a new revised edition, ed. Chauncey A. Goodrich and published by the Merriam–Webster Company, in 1847; and by a revision for the British market with over 2,000 pictorial illustrations, The Imperial Dictionary of the English Language, ed. John Ogilvie (1847–50, supplement 1855), itself further revised and enlarged in 1882 (four volumes), ed. Charles Annandale.


Publication of Worcester’s Comprehensive Pronouncing and Explanatory Dictionary of the English Language initiates a vigorous rivalry between editions of this dictionary (notably Worcester’s Universal and Critical English Dictionary of 1846 and its successors up to A Dictionary of the English Language of 1860) and of Webster’s, lasting until 1864.


First volume (A–C) of Wilhelm Freund, Wörterbuch der lateinischen Sprache nach historisch-genetische Prinzipien published; the fourth and final volume would be published in 1845, and the whole would be translated into English by E. A. Andrews and revised by Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short in 1879 (Short revised A, Lewis B–Z), with an abridgement in 1890, becoming the principal English–Latin dictionary for nearly a century.


Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm undertake a German dictionary project, which would result in the first major dictionary of a vernacular language to be compiled on historical principles, and the first to be informed by the new comparative philology of the nineteenth century. The undertaking was proposed 3 March, and announced in the Leipziger allgemeine Zeitung 29 August. Publication would begin in 1852.


Maximilien Paul Émile Littré undertakes a French dictionary project with the working title Nouveau dictionnaire étymologique de la langue française, which would result in the first complete historically-oriented dictionary of modern French; editing began in earnest in 1847.


H. G. Liddell and R. Scott, A Greek–English Lexicon, based on Franz Passow’s revision (1819) of J. G. Schneider’s Kritisches griechisch-deutsches Handwörterbuch beym Lesen der griechischen profanen Scribenten zu gebrauchen (1797–98), brings the historical principles set out by Passow in 1812 into English lexicographical practice.


First fascicle (A–Allverein, ed. Jacob Grimm) of the Grimms’ Deutsches Wörterbuch published 1 May. A–C and E–Frucht would be edited by Jacob Grimm before his death in 1863, and D by Wilhelm between 1855 and his death in 1859. Publication of the 380th and last fascicle, widrig–Wiking, in January 1961 (dated 1960) completed the alphabetical sequence of the dictionary; a volume of sources followed in 1966–71, and revised volumes from 1983 onwards. Editorial responsibility was divided between many scholars: work on the letter G, for instance, was initiated by Rudolf Hildebrand in a fascicle published in 1872 and completed by an editorial team with a fascicle published in 1958. The dictionary as completed in 1961 ran to 33,872 pages (equivalent to 22,421 OED-sized pages) in sixteen two-part volumes, and registered about 250,000 main and 70,000 subsidiary entries.

(p. 612) 1852

Peter Mark Roget, Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases published 11 June (printing, in a run of 1,000, began in March).


Richard Chenevix Trench’s two-part presentation ‘On Some Deficiencies in our English Dictionaries’ to the Philological Society of London, 5 and 19 November, followed 7 January 1858 by the presentation to the society of Trench’s scheme for a new English dictionary, initiates the New English Dictionary / Oxford English Dictionary (NED / OED) project.


Printing of Littré, Dictionnaire de la langue française begins 27 September. A total of 30 fascicles were published, the first (a–air) no later than February 1862 and the last (vindicativement–end) 25 September 1872; the dictionary was also issued in two volumes, each of two parts, dated 1863 (A–C, D–H) and 1872 (I–P, Q–Z), with a supplement (additions and corrections, with a ‘Dictionnaire étymologique de tous les mots d’origine orientale’ by Marcel Devic) in 1877. The completed dictionary ran to 4,646 OED-sized pages and comprised 78,423 entries, illustrated by 293,009 quotations.


First fascicle (A–Aanhaling) of the Woordenboek der Nederlansche taal (WNT), ed. Matthias de Vries, published; the 686th and last, completing vol. 39 (zuid–zythum), was published 16 June 1998, with a single-volume supplement of revised entries in A published in fascicles 1942–56, and three more supplementary volumes, registering c.30,000 new words, in 2001. The completed dictionary, of 49,255 pages (equivalent to 25,038 OED-sized pages), comprises 400,000 or more entries under c.95,000 main headwords, with 1,700,000 illustrative quotations; the chronological and geographical scope of the NED were greater, and the NED also presented more quotations, but the WNT is the largest European dictionary in terms of page count and entry count.


First volume of Vladimir Ivanovich Dal, Tolovyi slovar zhivogo velikorusskogo yazika, the major Russian dictionary of the nineteenth century; the fourth and last would be published in 1866, and the dictionary as a whole would register more than 200,000 words, presented in semi-etymological order.


A revision of Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, ed. Noah Porter with etymologies by C. A. F. Mahn, revitalizes the Webster tradition; subsequent editions would appear in 1879 (with New Words section and biographical supplement), 1882, and 1884.


Friedrich Christian August Fick, Wörterbuch der indogermanischen Grundsprache, the first scholarly dictionary of a reconstructed language (in this case, Proto-Indo-European); a fourth edition was published 1890–1909.


First fascicle (A–Ant) of the NED published 29 January by the Clarendon Press (the academic imprint of Oxford University Press), ed. James Murray on the basis of materials gathered under his editorship and those of Herbert Coleridge and F. J. Furnivall. Murray would be responsible for the volumes containing A–D, H–K, O–P, and T before his death in 1915; Henry Bradley would join him as chief editor of E–G, L–M, S–Sh, St, and (with Craigie) W–We before his death in 1923; William Craigie would be chief editor of N, Q, R, Si–Sq, U–V, W–We (with Bradley), and Worm-Wy; Charles Onions of Su–Sz, Wh-Worling, and X–Z. From the fascicle Deceit–deject (1895), the title Oxford English Dictionary would also be used. The completed dictionary, of 15,490 pages, comprised 252,200 entries, with 1,861,200 illustrative quotations.


First fascicle (A–Appet) of the Century Dictionary published on or before 17 June, ed. William Dwight Whitney, based on Annandale’s revision of Ogilvie’s Imperial Dictionary, and thus ultimately a descendant of Webster’s American Dictionary of 1828. The 24th and last fascicle would appear in 1891, with a preface dated 1 October; the dictionary was issued in six volumes on or before 7 December, registering about (p. 613) 215,000 words; a ten-volume issue would appear in 1896 as The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia, and a twelve-volume revision in 1911, both ed. Benjamin Eli Smith; an abridgement, the New Century Dictionary, would appear in 1927, with subsequent editions and reworkings.


First edition of Webster’s International Dictionary, ed. Porter et al., a thorough revision of the American Dictionary of 1864–84, comprising 175,000 entries. A further edition with a supplement of 25,000 entries would appear in 1900, ed. William T. Harris, and a Webster’s New International Dictionary, with 400,000 entries, in 1909, also ed. Harris.


First volume of Funk & Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary of the English Language; the second appeared in 1894, and the two together included 304,000 entries. A revision would appear in 1913 as the New Standard Dictionary of the English Language, offering 450,000 entries.


First fascicle of the Swedish national dictionary on historical principles, Ordbok öfver svenska språket (better known as Svenska Akademiens Ordbok), published, after a false start in 1870. Fascicles 369–373 (Trivsel–Tyna) appeared in July 2009.


First part (A–Ballot) of Joseph Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary published 1 July. The 30th and last part (the second half of the Dialect Grammar) would appear in September 1905.


First fascicle of Thesaurus linguae Latinae, the most comprehensive of all Latin dictionaries, published. Fascicle xvii of vol. X. 2 (pulso–pyxodes) was published in 2009.


First volume of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda’s Milon ha-lashon ha-’lvrit ha-yeshanah veda- hadashah / Complete Dictionary of Ancient and Modern Hebrew, a major document in the revival of the Hebrew language; the 17th and last would appear in 1959.


First edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary (COD) published 16 June, ed. H. W. Fowler and F. G. Fowler. The twelfth edition, issued as The Concise Oxford English Dictionary, was published in 2011; COD has been the basis for dictionaries of several varieties of English.


First volume of the Danish national dictionary on historical principles, Ordbog over det danske Sprog, founded by Verner Dahlerup and ed. Harald Juul-Jensen (to 1949) and Jørgen Glahder (after 1949) published; the 28th and last volume in the main alphabetical series would appear in 1956, with five supplementary volumes 1992–2005, ed. Anne Duekilde and Henrik Andersson.


William Craigie’s presentation ‘New Dictionary Schemes’ to the Philological Society, 4 April, initiates the so-called period dictionaries of English, multi-volume historical dictionaries intended to treat particular areas more fully than was possible for the NED / OED.


First fascicle of Französisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, general ed. Walther von Wartburg, the most extensive etymological treatment of any European language; the 25th and last volume was completed in 2002 with the publication of the 162nd fascicle (completing the revision of the range A), bringing the dictionary to a total of 16,707 pages, since when, revised articles in B have been made available online.


First volume of Vergleichendes Wörterbuch der indogermanischen Sprachen, ed. Julius Pokorny from the materials of Alois Walde; the third and last volume, an index, would appear in 1932, followed by Pokorny’s Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch (2 vols., issued in parts 1948–69, fifth edition 2005), and by the Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Project initiated at Leiden in 1991.


128th and last fascicle (Wise–Wyzen) of the NED / OED published 19 April, ed. C. T. Onions (Wise–Worling) and William Craigie (Worm–Wyzen). The fascicle XYZ, ed. Onions, had appeared 6 October 1921. Completed NED issued in ten volumes.

(p. 614) 1931

First fascicle (A–Assemble) of A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOST), ed. William Craigie. DOST would be completed in 12 volumes in 2002 (1–2 ed. Craigie, 3 by Craigie and A. J. Aitken, 4–8 by Aitken et al., 9–12 by Margaret Dareau et al.).


First fascicle (A–Aggle) of The Scottish National Dictionary (SND), ed. William Grant. SND would be completed in 10 volumes in 1976 (1–2 ed. Grant, 3 by Grant and David Murison, 4–10 by Murison), with a supplement ed. Iseabail Macleod in 2005.


The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles published in two volumes 17 February, ed. C. T. Onions, H. W. Fowler, and Jessie Coulson. A sixth edition, ed. Angus Stevenson, was published in 2007.


The Oxford English Dictionary, being a corrected re-issue with an Introduction, Supplement, and Bibliography of A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles, published in November, ed. Craigie and Onions, in twelve volumes (the Supplement had been made available to subscribers to the dictionary on 21 September). It would be reissued in micrographic form (four pages of the original to one page of the reissue) in two volumes in 1971, thereafter becoming readily affordable to very many readers.


Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition published 25 June, ed. William Allan Neilson, presenting 552,000 entries, with over 12,000 pictorial illustrations.


First edition of A New Method English Dictionary, ed. Michael West and James Endicott, the first significant monolingual learners’ dictionary of English (second edition 1965).


First fascicle of Dictionary of American English (i.e. of words originating in America or significant in American life, documented to about 1900), ed. William Craigie et al.; the 20th and last fascicle would appear in 1944, and the dictionary would be issued in four volumes in that year. This was the first of the period dictionaries proposed in 1919 to be completed; it was followed in 1951 by the two-volume Dictionary of Americanisms, ed. Mitford M. Mathews, which focuses more closely on words of American origin, and takes their history up to the time of compilation.


Idiomatic and Syntactic English Dictionary, ed. A. S. Hornby, E. V. Gatenby, and H. Wakefield, published in Tokyo; this dictionary would be reprinted photographically by Oxford University Press as A Learner’s Dictionary of Current English in 1948 and reissued as The Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English in 1952; this and successive editions had sold more than 14,000,000 copies by the early 1990s. The eighth edition was published in 2010.


First fascicle of Paul Robert, Dictionnaire alphabétique et analogique de la langue française. The first volume (A–C) would appear 15 October 1953 and the sixth and last (Recr–Z) September 1964, with a supplement 1970; third edition, ed. Alain Rey and Josette Rey-Debove, 2001. Le Petit Robert, a one-volume abridgement, ed. Rey (first edition 1967), is in widespread use.


First fascicle of Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru: A Dictionary of the Welsh Language (a—anghynanadwy), the first full historical dictionary of Welsh. The 61st and final fascicle (ymlidiaf—Zwinglïaidd) was published in 2002. 12 fascicles of the second edition have been published and the dictionary went online at <> on 26 June 2014.


First volume of the major scholarly dictionary of Afrikaans, Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse taal, ed. Pieter Cornelis Schoonees, published 7 May; vol. 13 (R, ed. W. F. Botha) was published 2009.


First fascicle (E–Endelonges) of the Middle English Dictionary. The dictionary would be completed in thirteen volumes, chief editors Hans Kurath (A–F), Sherman M. Kuhn with John Reidy (G–P), and Robert E. Lewis et al. (Q–Z), the whole comprising 54,081 entries, (p. 615) supported by 891,531 illustrative quotations. The 115th and final fascicle of the alphabetical sequence, X–Z, was published July 2001, followed by a revised Plan and Bibliography in 2007.


First volume (H) of Chicago Assyrian Dictionary / The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, ed. Leo Oppenheim, appears to very harsh criticism; the 20th and last volume (U/W, ed. Martha T. Roth) would be published in the winter of 2010–11, the 21st (Z) having already appeared.


Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged, published 28 September (with at least some entries released to the press as early as 6 September), ed. Philip Gove; attacks on the supposed permissiveness of the dictionary began in early September, the most violent being published in 1962.


F. G. Cassidy and R. Le Page, Dictionary of Jamaican English published in or before June, drawing on four centuries of written record and on oral usage; a second edition would follow in 1980.


First fascicle (A–Calcitro) of Oxford Latin Dictionary, ed. P. G. W. Glare (8th and final fascicle published on schedule in 1982), offers a new record of the vocabulary of ancient Latin.


American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language published 15 September, edited by William Morris, with an etymological appendix by Calvert Watkins, notes on disputable items by a usage panel, and numerous photographic illustrations; fifth edition: November 2011, ed. Steve Kleinedler.


First volume (A–Affiner) of the Trésor de la langue française, the fullest dictionary of modern French, published, ed. Paul Imbs (vols 1–7) and Bernard Quemada (vols 8–16); the 16th and last volume (Teint–Zzz) was published in 1994. The whole dictionary registers 100,000 words, with 430,000 illustrative quotations.


First volume (A–G) of OED Supplement published 12 October, ed. R. W. Burchfield, to be followed by three more — H–N (4 November 1976), O–Scz (15 July 1982), and Se-Z (8 May 1986) — comprising 69,300 entries, supported by 527,000 illustrative quotations.


First volume of the major scholarly dictionary of Frisian, Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal, published 9 November, ed. Klaas van der Veen. The 25th and last volume was published 11 November 2011.


First volume (A–C) of Dictionary of American Regional English published early September, ed. F. G. Cassidy et al., and drawing on fieldwork with 2,777 informants in 1,002 US communities, and on written sources. The last in the alphabetical sequence (Sl–Z, ed. Joan Houston Hall) appeared in March 2012, with a final volume of maps, indexes, and questionnaire responses published in 2013.


First fascicle (D) of the Dictionary of Old English published, ed. Angus Cameron et al., registering 897 headwords on 951 pages in microfiche. It has been followed by microfiche and electronic publications of A–C and E–G.


Second edition of the OED published 30 March, ed. John Simpson and Edmund Weiner, in twenty volumes, comprising 291,500 entries, supported by 2,436,600 quotations.


Richard Allsopp, Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage transcends national boundaries to register the standardizing English of the Anglophone Caribbean as a whole.


OED Online launched 14 March.


Trésor de la langue française informatisé launched online 5 March.


Publication of the Historical Thesaurus of the OED, ed. Christian Kay, Jane Roberts, Michael Samuels, and Irene Wotherspoon.