HOME

TheInfoList




A dictionary is a listing of
lexeme A lexeme () is a unit of lexical meaning that underlies a set of words that are related through inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeol ...
s from the
lexicon A lexicon is the vocabulary A vocabulary is a set of familiar words In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, pra ...

lexicon
of one or more specific
language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...

language
s, often arranged
alphabetically Alphabetical order is a system whereby character strings are placed in order based on the position of the characters in the conventional ordering of an alphabet. It is one of the methods of collation. In mathematics, a lexicographical order is t ...
(or by radical and stroke for
ideographic An ideogram or ideograph (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popul ...
languages), which may include information on
definition A definition is a statement of the meaning of a term (a word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language ...

definition
s, usage,
etymologies Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English ''The'' () is a grammatical article Article often refers to: * Article (grammar) An article is any member of a class of dedicated words that are used with noun phrases to mark the identif ...
,
pronunciation Pronunciation is the way in which a word or a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful d ...
s, translation, etc..Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, 2002 It is a
lexicographical Lexicography is the study of lexicon A lexicon is the vocabulary A vocabulary, also known as a wordstock or word-stock, is a set of familiar words within a person's language. A vocabulary, usually developed with age, serves as a useful a ...

lexicographical
reference that shows inter-relationships among the data. A broad distinction is made between general and
specialized dictionaries A specialized dictionary is a dictionary A dictionary is a listing of lexeme A lexeme () is a unit of lexical meaning that underlies a set of words that are related through inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Gr ...
. Specialized dictionaries include words in specialist fields, rather than a complete range of words in the language. Lexical items that describe concepts in specific fields are usually called terms instead of words, although there is no consensus whether
lexicology Lexicology is the branch of linguistics that analyzes the lexicon of a specific language. A word is the smallest meaningful unit of a language that can stand on its own, and is made up of small components called Morpheme, morphemes and even smalle ...
and
terminology Terminology is a general word for the group of specialized words or meanings relating to a particular field, and also the study of such terms and their use. This is also known as terminology science. Terms are words and compound words or multi-w ...

terminology
are two different fields of study. In theory, general dictionaries are supposed to be semasiological, mapping word to
definition A definition is a statement of the meaning of a term (a word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language ...

definition
, while specialized dictionaries are supposed to be onomasiological, first identifying
concept Concepts are defined as abstract ideas A mental representation (or cognitive representation), in philosophy of mind Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the ontology and nature of the mind and its relationship with the bo ...

concept
s and then establishing the terms used to designate them. In practice, the two approaches are used for both types.A Practical Guide to Lexicography, Sterkenburg 2003, pp. 155–157 There are other types of dictionaries that do not fit neatly into the above distinction, for instance bilingual (translation) dictionaries, dictionaries of
synonym A synonym is a word, morpheme A morpheme is the smallest meaningful lexical item in a language. A morpheme is not a word. The difference between a morpheme and a word is that a morpheme bound and free morphemes, sometimes does not stand alone ...
s (
thesauri A thesaurus (plural ''thesauri'' or ''thesauruses'') or synonym dictionary is a reference work for finding synonyms and sometimes antonyms of words. They are often used by writers to help find the best word to express an idea: Synonym dictiona ...

thesauri
), and
rhyming A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds (usually, exactly the same sound) in the final stressed syllables and any following syllables of two or more words. Most often, this kind of perfect rhyming is consciously used for artistic effect in the fi ...
dictionaries. The word dictionary (unqualified) is usually understood to refer to a general purpose
monolingual dictionary An explanatory dictionary or defining dictionary is a dictionary A dictionary is a listing of lexeme A lexeme () is a unit of lexical meaning that underlies a set of words that are related through inflection In linguistic morphology ...
.A Practical Guide to Lexicography, Sterkenburg 2003, pp. 3–4 There is also a contrast between ''prescriptive'' or ''descriptive'' dictionaries; the former reflect what is seen as correct use of the language while the latter reflect recorded actual use. Stylistic indications (e.g. "informal" or "vulgar") in many modern dictionaries are also considered by some to be less than objectively descriptive. Although the first recorded dictionaries date back to
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
ian times (these were bilingual dictionaries), the systematic study of dictionaries as objects of scientific interest themselves is a 20th-century enterprise, called
lexicography Lexicography is the study of lexicon A lexicon is the of a or branch of (such as or ). In , a lexicon is a language's inventory of s. The word ''lexicon'' derives from word (), neuter of () meaning 'of or for words'. Linguistic th ...

lexicography
, and largely initiated by
Ladislav ZgustaLadislav Zgusta (20 March 1924 in Libochovice Libochovice (german: Libochowitz) is a town in Litoměřice District in the Ústí nad Labem Region of the Czech Republic. It has about 3,500 inhabitants. It is located next to the Ohře River and Hazmbur ...
. The birth of the new discipline was not without controversy, the practical dictionary-makers being sometimes accused by others of "astonishing" lack of method and critical-self reflection.


History

The oldest known dictionaries were
cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is nam ...

cuneiform
tablets with bilingual
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...

Akkadian
wordlists, discovered in
Ebla Ebla (Sumer Sumer ()The name is from '; ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", ifrom ''The Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary''). Literally, "land of the native ...

Ebla
(modern
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
) and dated to roughly 2300 BCE, the time of the
Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of ...
. The early 2nd millennium BCE ''
Urra=hubullu The ''Urra=hubullu'' ( ) is a major Babylonian glossary or "encyclopedia". It consists of Sumerian language, Sumerian and Akkadian language, Akkadian lexical lists ordered by topic. The canonical version extends to 24 tablets. The conventional t ...
'' glossary is the canonical
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
n version of such bilingual Sumerian wordlists. A
Chinese dictionary Chinese dictionaries date back over two millennia to the Han Dynasty, which is a significantly longer lexicographical history than any other language. There are hundreds of dictionaries for the Chinese language, and this article discusses some of t ...
, the c. 3rd century BCE ''
Erya The ''Erya'' or ''Erh-ya'' is the first surviving Chinese dictionary Chinese dictionaries date back over two millennia to the Han Dynasty, which is a significantly longer lexicographical history than any other language. There are hundreds of dict ...
'', is the earliest surviving monolingual dictionary; although some sources cite the c. 800 BCE
Shizhoupian The ''Shizhoupian'' () is the first known Chinese dictionary, and was written in the ancient Great Seal script. The work was traditionally dated to the reign of King Xuan of Zhou (827–782 BCE), but many modern scholars assign it to the State of ...
as a "dictionary", modern scholarship considers it a calligraphic compendium of
Chinese character Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, ...

Chinese character
s from
Zhou dynasty The Zhou dynasty ( ; Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China ...
bronzes.
Philitas of Cos Philitas of Cos (; el, Φιλίτας ὁ Κῷος, ''Philītas ho Kōos''; – ), sometimes spelled Philetas (; , ''Philētas''; see #Bibliography, Bibliography below), was a scholar and poet during the early Hellenistic period of ancient Gree ...
(fl. 4th century BCE) wrote a pioneering vocabulary ''Disorderly Words'' (Ἄτακτοι γλῶσσαι, ') which explained the meanings of rare
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
ic and other literary words, words from local dialects, and technical terms.
Apollonius the Sophist Apollonius the Sophist ( el, Ἀπολλώνιος ὁ Σοφιστής) was a famous , who probably lived towards the end of the 1st century AD and taught in in the time of . He was born in , the son of another grammarian, (or was possibly Archi ...
(
fl. ''Floruit'' (), abbreviated fl. (or occasionally flor.), Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communic ...
1st century CE) wrote the oldest surviving Homeric lexicon. The first
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
dictionary, the , was written by
Amarasimha Amarasimha (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic languages. It is base ...
c. 4th century CE. Written in verse, it listed around 10,000 words. According to the ''
Nihon Shoki The , sometimes translated as ''The Chronicles of Japan'', is the second-oldest book of classical Japanese history The first human habitation in the Japanese archipelago has been traced to prehistoric times around 30,000 BCE. The Jōmon ...
'', the first
Japanese dictionary have a history that began over 1300 years ago when Japanese Buddhist Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan, an island country in East Asia * Japanese language, spoken mainly in Japan * Japanese people, the ethnic group that ...
was the long-lost 682 CE ''Niina'' glossary of Chinese characters. The oldest existing Japanese dictionary, the c. 835 CE '' Tenrei Banshō Meigi'', was also a glossary of written Chinese. In ''
Frahang-i Pahlavig ''Frahang-ī Pahlavīg'' (Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sas ...
'',
Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its literary and liturgical form), is an Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac ...
heterograms are listed together with their translation in the
Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasanian Empire. For some time after the Sasan ...
language and phonetic transcription in the
Pazend Pazend () or Pazand ( pal, 𐭯𐭠𐭰𐭭𐭣; ae, 𐬞𐬀𐬌𐬙𐬌 𐬰𐬀𐬌𐬥𐬙𐬌) is one of the writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''commu ...
alphabet. A 9th-century CE Irish dictionary,
Sanas Cormaic ''Sanas Cormaic'' (or ''Sanas Chormaic'', Irish for "Cormac's narrative"), also known as ''Cormac's Glossary'', is an early Irish glossary __NOTOC__ A glossary (from grc, γλῶσσα / language, speech, wording) also known as a vocabulary or ...
, contained etymologies and explanations of over 1,400 Irish words. In the 12th century, The
Karakhanid The Kara-Khanid Khanate (), also known as the Karakhanids, Qarakhanids, Ilek Khanids or the Afrasiabids (), was a Turkic khanate A khaganate or khanate was a political entity ruled by a khan, khagan Khagan or Qaghan ( otk, 𐰴𐰍 ...

Karakhanid
-
Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages ** Turkic alphabets (disambiguation) ** Turkish language, the most widely spoken Turkic language * T ...
scholar
Mahmud Kashgari Mahmud ibn Hussayn ibn Muhammed al-Kashgari, ''Maḥmūd ibnu 'l-Ḥussayn ibn Muḥammad al-Kāšġarī'', tr, Kaşgarlı Mahmûd, ug, مەھمۇد قەشقىرى, ''Mehmud Qeshqiri'' / Мәһмуд Қәшқири uz, Mahmud Qashg'ariy / М ...
finished his work "Divan-u Lügat'it Türk", a dictionary about the Turkic dialects, but especially Karakhanid Turkic. His work contains about 7500 to 8000 words and it was written to teach non Turkic Muslims, especially the Abbasid Arabs, the Turkic language.
Al-Zamakhshari Abū al-Qāsim Maḥmūd ibn Umar al-Zamakhsharī (), known as al-Zamakhsharī , or Jar Allāh ("God's neighbour") (18 March 1075 – 12 June 1144), was a medieval Muslim scholar of Iranian origin. He was a great Hanafite jurist, Mu'tazili ...
wrote a small Arabic dictionary called "Muḳaddimetü’l-edeb" for the Turkic-Khwarazm ruler
Atsiz Ala ad-Din Atsiz (Persian language, Persian: علاء الدين أتسز; full name: ''Ala ad-Dunya wa ad-Din Abul-Muzaffar Atsiz Qizil Arslan ibn Muhammad'') was the second Shah of Khwarezmian Empire, Khwarazm from 1127 to 1156. He was the son ...
. In the 14th century, the
Codex Cumanicus A page with a parrot from "Codex Cumanicus" The Codex Cumanicus is a linguistic Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and model ...

Codex Cumanicus
was finished and it served as a dictionary about the
Cuman The Cumans (or Kumans), also known as Polovtsians or Polovtsy (plural only, from the Russian exonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the ...
- Turkic language. While in
Mamluk Egypt The Mamluk Sultanate ( ar, سلطنة المماليك, translit=Salṭanat al-Mamālīk) was a medieval realm spanning medieval Egypt, Egypt, the Levant and Hejaz that established itself as a caliphate. It lasted from the overthrow of the Ayyub ...
, Ebû Hayyân el-Endelüsî finished his work "Kitâbü’l-İdrâk li-lisâni’l-Etrâk", a dictionary about the Kipchak and Turcoman languages spoken in Egypt and the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
. A dictionary called "Bahşayiş Lügati", which is written in old Anatolian Turkish, served also as a dictionary between Oghuz Turkish, Arabic and Persian. But it is not clear who wrote the dictionary or in which century exactly it was published. It was written in
old Anatolian Turkish Old Anatolian Turkish (OAT, tr, Eski Anadolu Türkçesi, ''EAT'') is the stage in the history of the Turkish language Turkish ( , ), also referred to as Istanbul Turkish (''İstanbul Türkçesi'') or Turkey Turkish (''Türkiye Türkçesi'' ...
from the
SeljukSeljuk may refer to: * Seljuk (warlord) (died c. 1038), founder of the Turko-Persian Seljuk dynasty in the Middle East and central Asia * Seljuq dynasty (c. 950–1307), the dynasty founded by Seljuk * Seljuk Empire (1051–1153), a medieval empire ...

Seljuk
period and not the late medieval
Ottoman Ottoman is the Turkish spelling of the Arabic masculine given name Uthman (name), Uthman (Arabic: عُثْمان ''‘uthmān''). It may refer to: Governments and dynasties * Ottoman Caliphate, an Islamic caliphate from 1517 to 1924 * Ottoman Empi ...
period.In India around 1320,
Amir Khusro Abu'l Hasan Yamīn ud-Dīn Khusrau (1253–1325 AD) (Urdu:ابوالحسن یامین الدّین خُسرو), better known as Amīr Khusrau Dehlavī (Urdu: امیر خُسرو دہلوی), was an Indian Sufi singer, musician, poet and scholar ...

Amir Khusro
compiled the Khaliq-e-bari, which mainly dealt with
Hindustani Hindustani may refer to: * something of, from, or related to Hindustan (another name of India) * Hindustani language, an Indo-Aryan language, whose two official norms are Hindi and Urdu * Fiji Hindi, a variety of Eastern Hindi spoken in Fiji, and i ...
and
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
words.
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
dictionaries were compiled between the 8th and 14th centuries CE, organizing words in rhyme order (by the last syllable), by alphabetical order of the radicals, or according to the alphabetical order of the first letter (the system used in modern European language dictionaries). The modern system was mainly used in specialist dictionaries, such as those of terms from the
Qur'an The Quran (, ; ar, القرآن , "the recitation"), also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central religious text of Islam, believed by Muslims to be a revelation in Islam, revelation from God in Islam, God (''Allah''). It is widely rega ...

Qur'an
and
hadith Ḥadīth ( or ; ar, حديث , pl. aḥādīth, , , , literally means "talk" or "discourse") or Athar ( ar, أثر, , literally means "tradition") in Islam refers to what the majority of Muslims Muslims () are people who follow or ...

hadith
, while most general use dictionaries, such as the ''Lisan al-`Arab'' (13th century, still the best-known large-scale dictionary of Arabic) and ''al-Qamus al-Muhit'' (14th century) listed words in the alphabetical order of the radicals. The ''Qamus al-Muhit'' is the first handy dictionary in Arabic, which includes only words and their definitions, eliminating the supporting examples used in such dictionaries as the ''Lisan'' and the ''
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal historical dictionary A historical dictionary or dictionary on historical principles is a dictionary which deals not only with the latterday meanings of words but also the historica ...
''. In medieval Europe, with equivalents for Latin words in
vernacular A vernacular or vernacular language refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by people that are inhabiting a particular country or region. The vernacular is typically the native language, normally Spoken language, spoken informally rath ...
or simpler Latin were in use (e.g. the
Leiden Glossary The ''Leiden Glossary'' is a glossary contained in a manuscript in Leiden University Library in the Netherlands, Voss. Lat. Q. 69. The lemmata ( headwords) come from "a range of biblical, grammatical, and patristic texts".Lapidge, ''Anglo-Saxon L ...
). The '' Catholicon'' (1287) by Johannes Balbus, a large grammatical work with an alphabetical lexicon, was widely adopted. It served as the basis for several bilingual dictionaries and was one of the earliest books (in 1460) to be printed. In 1502
Ambrogio Calepino Ambrogio Calepino (Latin: ''Ambrosius Calepinus''; c. 1440–1510), commonly known by the Latin form of his name, Calepinus, was an Italy, Italian lexicographer. Calepino was born in Castelli CalepioGigliola Soldi Rondinini, Tullio De MauroCALEPIO ...
's ''Dictionarium'' was published, originally a monolingual Latin dictionary, which over the course of the 16th century was enlarged to become a multilingual glossary. In 1532
Robert Estienne Robert I Estienne (; 15037 September 1559), known as ''Robertus Stephanus'' in Latin and sometimes referred to as ''Robert Stephens'', was a 16th-century printer and classical scholar in Paris. He was the proprietor of the Estienne print shop afte ...

Robert Estienne
published the ''Thesaurus linguae latinae'' and in 1572 his son
Henri Estienne Henri Estienne (; ; 1528 or 15311598), also known as Henricus Stephanus (), was a French printing, printer and classical scholar. He was the eldest son of Robert Estienne. He was instructed in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew by his father and would even ...
published the ''
Thesaurus linguae graecaeThe Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG) is a research center at the University of California, Irvine. The TLG was founded in 1972 by Marianne McDonald (a graduate student at the time and now a professor of theater and classics at the University of Cali ...
'', which served up to the 19th century as the basis of Greek lexicography. The first monolingual dictionary written in Europe was the Spanish, written by Sebastián Covarrubias' ''
Tesoro de la lengua castellana o española The ''Tesoro de la lengua castellana o española'' (''Treasury of Castilian or Spanish Language'') is a dictionary of the Spanish language, written by Sebastián de Covarrubias in 1611. It was the first monolingual dictionary of the Castilian lan ...
'', published in 1611 in Madrid, Spain. In 1612 the first edition of the ''
Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca File:Vocabolario degli accademici della crusca, IV edizione, 1729-38, 02 incisione di un frontespizio.jpg, Incipit of a volume of the 4th Edition The ''Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca'' was the first dictionary of the Italian language, p ...
'', for
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
, was published. It served as the model for similar works in French and English. In 1690 in
Rotterdam Rotterdam ( , , ) is the second largest city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2n ...

Rotterdam
was published, posthumously, the ''Dictionnaire Universel'' by
Antoine Furetière Antoine Furetière (28 December 161914 May 1688) was a French scholar, writer, and lexicographer, known best for his satirical novel ''Scarron's City Romance''. He was expelled from the Académie Française for seeking to publish his own French ...

Antoine Furetière
for . In 1694 appeared the first edition of the ''
Dictionnaire de l'Académie française The ''Dictionnaire de l'Académie française'' is the official dictionary of the French language. The Académie française is France's official authority on the usages, vocabulary, and grammar of the French language, although its recommendations c ...

Dictionnaire de l'Académie française
'' (still published, with the ninth edition not complete ). Between 1712 and 1721 was published the ''Vocabulario portughez e latino'' written by Raphael Bluteau. The
Real Academia Española The Royal Spanish Academy ( es, Real Academia Española, generally abbreviated as RAE) is Spain's official royal institution with a mission to ensure the stability of the Spanish language. It is based in Madrid, Spain, but is affiliated with n ...
published the first edition of the ''
Diccionario de la lengua española The ''Diccionario de la lengua española'' (DLE; ; en, Dictionary of the Spanish language) is a dictionary of the Spanish language. Previously known as ''Diccionario de la Real Academia Española'' ( en, Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy), ...
'' (still published, with a new edition about every decade) in 1780; their ''Diccionario de Autoridades'', which included quotes taken from literary works, was published in 1726. The ''Totius Latinitatis lexicon'' by Egidio Forcellini was firstly published in 1777; it has formed the basis of all similar works that have since been published. The first edition of ''
A Greek-English Lexicon A, or a, is the first Letter (alphabet), letter and the first vowel letter of the English alphabet, modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. Its name in English is English alphabet#Letter names, ''a'' (pronounced ), plural En ...
'' by
Henry George Liddell Henry George Liddell (; 6 February 1811– 18 January 1898) was Dean (college), dean (1855–91) of Christ Church, Oxford, List of Vice-Chancellors of the University of Oxford, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University (1870–74), headmaster (1846 ...

Henry George Liddell
and Robert Scott appeared in 1843; this work remained the basic dictionary of Greek until the end of the 20th century. And in 1858 was published the first volume of the
Deutsches Wörterbuch The ''Deutsches Wörterbuch'' (; "The German Dictionary"), abbreviated ''DWB'', is the largest and most comprehensive dictionary of the German language in existence. By this stage, dictionaries had evolved to contain textual references for most words, and were arranged alphabetically, rather than by topic (a previously popular form of arrangement, which meant all animals would be grouped together, etc.). Johnson's masterwork could be judged as the first to bring all these elements together, creating the first "modern" dictionary. Johnson's dictionary remained the English-language standard for over 150 years, until the Oxford University Press began writing and releasing the ''
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal historical dictionary A historical dictionary or dictionary on historical principles is a dictionary which deals not only with the latterday meanings of words but also the historica ...
'' in short wikt:fascicle, fascicles from 1884 onwards. It took nearly 50 years to complete this huge work, and they finally released the complete ''OED'' in twelve volumes in 1928. It remains the most comprehensive and trusted English language dictionary to this day, with revisions and updates added by a dedicated team every three months. One of the main contributors to this modern dictionary was an ex-army surgeon, William Chester Minor, a convicted murderer who was confined to an asylum for the criminally insane.


American English dictionaries

In 1806, American Noah Webster published his first dictionary, ''s:A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language''. In 1807 Webster began compiling an expanded and fully comprehensive dictionary, ''An American Dictionary of the English Language;'' it took twenty-seven years to complete. To evaluate the etymology of words, Webster learned twenty-six languages, including Old English (Anglo-Saxon), German, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Arabic, and
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
. Webster completed his dictionary during his year abroad in 1825 in Paris, France, and at the University of Cambridge. His book contained seventy thousand words, of which twelve thousand had never appeared in a published dictionary before. As a spelling reformer, Webster believed that English spelling rules were unnecessarily complex, so his dictionary introduced spellings that became American English, replacing "colour" with "color", substituting "wagon" for "waggon", and printing "center" instead of "centre". He also added American words, like "skunk" and "squash," which did not appear in British dictionaries. At the age of seventy, Webster published his dictionary in 1828; it sold 2500 copies. In 1840, the second edition was published in two volumes. Webster's dictionary was acquired by G & C Merriam Co. in 1843, after his death, and has since been published in many revised editions. Merriam-Webster was acquired by Encyclopedia Britannica in 1964. Controversy over the lack of usage advice in the 1961 ''Webster's Third New International Dictionary'' spurred publication of the 1969 ''The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language'', the first dictionary to use corpus linguistics.


Types

In a general dictionary, each word may have multiple meanings. Some dictionaries include each separate meaning in the order of most common usage while others list definitions in historical order, with the oldest usage first. In many languages, words can appear in many different forms, but only the lemma (morphology), undeclined or unconjugated form appears as the headword in most dictionaries. Dictionaries are most commonly found in the form of a book, but some newer dictionaries, like StarDict and the ''New Oxford American Dictionary'' are dictionary software running on Personal Digital Assistant, PDAs or computers. There are also many List of online dictionaries, online dictionaries accessible via the Internet.


Specialized dictionaries

According to the ''Manual of Specialized Lexicographies'', a specialized dictionary, also referred to as a technical dictionary, is a dictionary that focuses upon a specific subject field, as opposed to a dictionary that comprehensively contains words from the lexicon of a specific language or languages. Following the description in ''The Bilingual LSP Dictionary'', lexicographers categorize specialized dictionaries into three types: A multi-field dictionary broadly covers several subject fields (e.g. a business dictionary), a single-field dictionary narrowly covers one particular subject field (e.g. law), and a sub-field dictionary covers a more specialized field (e.g. constitutional law). For example, the 23-language Inter-Active Terminology for Europe is a multi-field dictionary, the American National Biography is a single-field, and the African American National Biography Project is a sub-field dictionary. In terms of the coverage distinction between "minimizing dictionaries" and "maximizing dictionaries", multi-field dictionaries tend to minimize coverage across subject fields (for instance, ''Oxford Dictionary of World Religions'' and ''Yadgar Dictionary of Computer and Internet Terms'') whereas single-field and sub-field dictionaries tend to maximize coverage within a limited subject field (''The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology''). Another variant is the glossary, an alphabetical list of defined terms in a specialized field, such as medicine (medical dictionary).


Defining dictionaries

The simplest dictionary, a defining dictionary, provides a core glossary of the simplest meanings of the simplest concepts. From these, other concepts can be explained and defined, in particular for those who are first learning a language. In English, the commercial defining dictionaries typically include only one or two meanings of under 2000 words. With these, the rest of English, and even the 4000 most common English idioms and metaphors, can be defined.


Prescriptive vs. descriptive

Lexicographers apply two basic philosophies to the defining of words: ''prescriptive'' or ''descriptive''. Noah Webster, intent on forging a distinct identity for the American language, altered spellings and accentuated differences in meaning and pronunciation of some words. This is why American English now uses the spelling ''color'' while the rest of the English-speaking world prefers ''colour''. (Similarly, British English subsequently underwent a few spelling changes that did not affect American English; see further at American and British English spelling differences.) Large 20th-century dictionaries such as the ''
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal historical dictionary A historical dictionary or dictionary on historical principles is a dictionary which deals not only with the latterday meanings of words but also the historica ...
'' (OED) and ''Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Webster's Third'' are descriptive, and attempt to describe the actual use of words. Most dictionaries of English now apply the descriptive method to a word's definition, and then, outside of the definition itself, provide information alerting readers to attitudes which may influence their choices on words often considered vulgar, offensive, erroneous, or easily confused. ''Merriam-Webster'' is subtle, only adding italicized notations such as, ''sometimes offensive'' or ''stand'' (nonstandard). ''American Heritage Dictionary, American Heritage'' goes further, discussing issues separately in numerous "usage notes." ''Encarta Webster's Dictionary, Encarta'' provides similar notes, but is more prescriptive, offering warnings and admonitions against the use of certain words considered by many to be offensive or illiterate, such as, "an offensive term for..." or "a taboo term meaning...". Because of the widespread use of dictionaries in schools, and their acceptance by many as language authorities, their treatment of the language does affect usage to some degree, with even the most descriptive dictionaries providing conservative continuity. In the long run, however, the meanings of words in English are primarily determined by usage, and the language is being changed and created every day. As Jorge Luis Borges says in the prologue to "El otro, el mismo": "''It is often forgotten that (dictionaries) are artificial repositories, put together well after the languages they define. The roots of language are irrational and of a magical nature.''" Sometimes the same dictionary can be descriptive in some domains and prescriptive in others. For example, according to Ghil'ad Zuckermann, the ''Oxford English-Hebrew Dictionary'' is "at war with itself": whereas its coverage (lexical items) and glosses (definitions) are descriptive and colloquial, its Niqqud, vocalization is prescriptive. This internal conflict results in absurd sentences such as ''hi taharóg otí kshetiré me asíti lamkhonít'' (she'll tear me apart when she sees what I've done to the car). Whereas ''hi taharóg otí'', literally 'she will kill me', is colloquial, ''me'' (a variant of ''ma'' 'what') is archaic, resulting in a combination that is unutterable in real life.


Historical dictionaries

A historical dictionary is a specific kind of descriptive dictionary which describes the development of words and senses over time, usually using citations to original source material to support its conclusions.


Dictionaries for natural language processing

In contrast to traditional dictionaries, which are designed to be used by human beings, dictionaries for natural language processing (NLP) are built to be used by computer programs. The final user is a human being but the direct user is a program. Such a dictionary does not need to be able to be printed on paper. The structure of the content is not linear, ordered entry by entry but has the form of a complex network (see Diathesis alternation). Because most of these dictionaries are used to control machine translations or cross-lingual information retrieval (CLIR) the content is usually multilingual and usually of huge size. In order to allow formalized exchange and merging of dictionaries, an ISO standard called Lexical Markup Framework (LMF) has been defined and used among the industrial and academic community.


Other types

* Bilingual dictionary * Collegiate dictionary (American) * Learner's dictionary (mostly British) * Electronic dictionary * Encyclopedic dictionary * Monolingual learner's dictionary ** Advanced learner's dictionary * By sound ** Rhyming dictionary * Reverse dictionary (Conceptual dictionary) * Visual dictionary * The Devil's Dictionary, Satirical dictionary * Phonetic dictionary


Pronunciation

In many languages, such as the English language, the pronunciation of some words is not consistently apparent from their spelling. In these languages, dictionaries usually provide the pronunciation. For example, the definition for the word ''dictionary'' might be followed by the International Phonetic Alphabet spelling (in British English) or (in American English). American English dictionaries often use their own pronunciation respelling systems with diacritics, for example ''dictionary'' is respelled as "dĭk′shə-nĕr′ē" in the The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, American Heritage Dictionary. The IPA is more commonly used within the British Commonwealth countries. Yet others use their own pronunciation respelling systems without diacritics: for example, ''dictionary'' may be respelled as . Some online or electronic dictionaries provide audio recordings of words being spoken.


Examples


Major English dictionaries


Dictionaries of other languages

Histories and descriptions of the dictionaries of other languages on Wikipedia include: * List of Arabic dictionaries, Arabic dictionaries * Chinese dictionary, Chinese dictionaries * Dehkhoda Dictionary (Persian Language) * List of Dutch dictionaries, Dutch dictionaries * List of French dictionaries, French dictionaries * List of German dictionaries, German dictionaries * Japanese dictionary, Japanese dictionaries * Polish dictionaries * Scottish Gaelic dictionaries * Scottish Language Dictionaries * Sindhi to English Dictionary, Sindhi Language Dictionaries


Online dictionaries

The age of the Internet brought online dictionaries to the desktop and, more recently, to the smart phone. David Skinner (journalist), David Skinner in 2013 noted that "Among the top ten lookups on Merriam-Webster Online at this moment are ''holistic, pragmatic, caveat, esoteric'' and ''bourgeois.'' Teaching users about words they don’t already know has been, historically, an aim of lexicography, and modern dictionaries do this well." There exist a number of websites which operate as online dictionaries, usually with a specialized focus. Some of them have exclusively user driven content, often consisting of neologisms. Some of the more notable examples are given in List of online dictionaries and :Online dictionaries.


See also


Notes


References

* * * * * *Atkins, B.T.S. & Rundell, Michael (2008) ''The Oxford Guide to Practical Lexicography'', Oxford: Oxford University Press. * (published in the UK as ''The Surgeon of Crowthorne''). *


Further reading

* Guy Jean Forgue, "The Norm in American English," ''Revue Française d'Etudes Americaines,'' Nov 1983, Vol. 8 Issue 18, pp 451–461. An international appreciation of the importance of Webster's dictionaries in setting the norms of the English language.


External links

*
Glossary of dictionary terms
by the Oxford University Press * {{Authority control Dictionaries, Lexicography Reference works