The lexicon was begun in the nineteenth century and is now in its ninth (revised) edition. Based on the earlier Handwörterbuch der griechischen Sprache by the German lexicographer Franz Passow (first published in 1819, fourth edition 1831), which in turn was based on Johann Gottlob Schneider's Kritisches griechisch-deutsches Handwörterbuch, it has served as the basis for all later lexicographical work on the ancient Greek language, such as the ongoing Greek–Spanish dictionary project Diccionario Griego–Español (DGE).
It was edited by Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, Henry Stuart Jones and Roderick McKenzie, and published by the Oxford University Press. It is now conventionally referred to as Liddell & Scott, Liddell–Scott–Jones, or LSJ, and its three sizes are sometimes referred to as "The Little Liddell", "The Middle Liddell" and "The Big Liddell" or "The Great Scott".
According to Stuart Jones's preface to the ninth (1925) edition, the creation of the Lexicon was originally proposed by David Alphonso Talboys, an Oxford publisher. It was published by the Clarendon Press at Oxford rather than by Talboys because he died before the first edition (1843) was complete. The second through sixth editions appeared in 1845, 1849, 1855, 1861, and 1869.
The first editor of the LSJ, Henry George Liddell, was Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, and the father of Alice Liddell, the eponymous Alice of the writings of Lewis Carroll. The eighth edition (1897) is the last edition published during Liddell's lifetime.
The LSJ is sometimes compared and contrasted with A Latin Dictionary by Lewis and Short, which was also published by Oxford University Press (OUP). For comparisons between the two works, see the article on Lewis and Short's dictionary. It is also sometimes compared with the Bauer lexicon, which is a similar work focused on the Greek of the New Testament.
Greek scholars use these books so much that two short memorable clerihews have been written to describe the seminal work:
Liddell and Scott, Liddell and Scott:
Some of it's riddle, and some of it's rot.
That which is riddle was written by Liddell,
That which is rot was written by Scott.
Two men wrote a dictionary, Liddell and Scott,
And one half was good, the other was not.
Now tell me the answer, boys, quick, to this riddle:
which was by Scott and which was by Liddell?
Two condensed editions of LSJ were published by Oxford University Press and remain in print.
In 1843, the same year as the full lexicon's publication, A Lexicon: Abridged from Liddell and Scott's Greek–English Lexicon, sometimes called "the Little Liddell" was published. Several revised editions followed. For example, a reprint, re-typeset in 2007, of the 1909 edition is available from Simon Wallenberg Press (ISBN 1-84356-026-7).
In 1889, an intermediate edition of the lexicon, An Intermediate Greek–English Lexicon, was prepared on the basis of the seventh edition (1882) of LSJ. In comparison to the smaller abridgement, this "Middle Liddell" contains more entries covering the essential vocabulary of most commonly read Ancient Greek literature, adds citations of the authors to illustrate the history of Greek usage (without identifying the passages), and provides more help with irregular forms.
After the publication of the ninth edition in 1940, shortly after the deaths of both Stuart Jones and McKenzie, the OUP maintained a list of addenda et corrigenda (additions and corrections), which was bound with subsequent printings. However, in 1968, these were replaced by a Supplement to the LSJ. Neither the addenda nor the Supplement has ever been merged into the main text, which still stands as originally composed by Liddell, Scott, Jones, and McKenzie. The Supplement was initially edited by M. L. West. Since 1981, it has been edited by P. G. W. Glare, editor of the Oxford Latin Dictionary (not to be confused with Lewis and Short). Since 1988, it has been edited by Glare and Anne A. Thompson. As the title page of the Lexicon makes clear (and the prefaces to the main text and to the Supplement attest), this editorial work has been performed "with the cooperation of many scholars".
The Supplement primarily takes the form of a list of additions and corrections to the main text, sorted by entry. The supplemental entries are marked with signs to show the nature of the changes they call for. Thus, a user of the Lexicon can consult the Supplement after consulting the main text to see whether scholarship after Jones and McKenzie has provided any new information about a particular word. As of 2005, the most recent revision of the Supplement, published in 1996, contains 320 pages of corrections to the main text, as well as other materials.
Here is a typical entry from the revised Supplement:
The small "x" indicates that this word did not appear in the main text at all; "S.fr." refers to the collected fragmentary works of Sophocles.
One interesting new source of lexicographic material in the revised Supplement is the Mycenean inscriptions. The 1996 revised Supplement's Preface notes:
The ninth edition of LSJ has been freely available in electronic form since 2007, having been digitized by the Perseus Project. Diogenes, a free software package, incorporates the Perseus data and allows easy offline consultation of LSJ on Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux platforms. Marcion is another open source application that includes the Perseus LSJ.
For mobile devices, both the Kindle E-Ink and the iPhone/iPod Touch feature data ported from Perseus. The Android Market also currently offers the intermediate LSJ as an offline downloadable app for free or for a small price. A CD-ROM version published and sold by Logos Bible Software also incorporates the Supplement's additions to the ninth edition of LSJ. A new online version of LSJ was released in 2011 by the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG). The TLG version corrects "a large number of typographical errors" and includes links to the extensive TLG textual corpus. A Kindle version, the "Complete Liddell & Scott's Lexicon with Inflections", is also available: it allows searches of most Classical Greek word-forms and supports a growing number of Ancient / Classical Greek texts for this device. 
The Lexicon has been translated into Modern Greek by Anestis Konstantinidis (Greek: Ανέστης Κωνσταντινίδης) and was published in 1904 with the title H. Liddell – R. Scott – Α. Κωνσταντινίδου – Μέγα Λεξικόν τῆς Ἑλληνικῆς Γλώσσης.
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