Sunday, October 19, 2014

World Dictionary Day

October 16 was World Dictionary Day, and in honor of that momentous occasion “The Huffington Post” published an article about Noah Webster, who they described as “the foremost lexicographer of American English”.

His “American Dictionary” published in 1828 took him twenty-eight years to complete. In preparation he learned twenty-six languages, including Old English, Ancient Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit. The final draft listed and defined seventy thousand words, more than any other dictionary in history. One in every six of Webster's words had never been listed in a dictionary before. He included a whole new vocabulary of emerging Americanisms like squash, skunk, hickory, chowder and applesauce for the very first time. And he took the opportunity to push through his ideas on English spelling reform - some of which took (center, color, honor, ax), and some of which didn't (dawter, wimmen, cloke, tung).

The article lists twenty-six of his more interesting inclusions, one for each letter of the alphabet.

This fascinating story includes daggle-tail, nuncupatory, tardigradous, and rakeshame which I actually recognized from reading Georgette Heyer books.

Okay, click on the link. You know you want to read the rest of these words.

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

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