Samuel Johnson's Dictionary: Selections from the 1755 Work That Defined the English Language
by Jack Lynch
Samuel Johnson's 2,300-page "Dictionary of the English Language," published in 1755, marked a milestone in a language that was in desperate need of standards. It was the first English dictionary to devote so much space to everyday words, to be so resoundingly thorough in its definition, and to illustrate usage by quoting from Shakespeare and other great writers. For the ne...more
Paperback, 656 pages
Published January 9th 2007 by Walker & Company
(first published January 1st 2004)
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one of the few dictionaries that has had me laughing out loud. for 'coffeehouse' johnson has, "a house of entertainment where coffee is sold, and guests are supplied with newspapers." a very nice browsing dictionary- not so much the sort for bouncing around comparing word histories and the like (for this see shipley's origins of english words, a very different work but also a very entertaining dictionary), but rather for just reading entries at random to find some quirky phrase or other. this ed...more
Well chosen selections from Samuel Johnson's 1755 masterpiece. Johnson was occasionally opinionated and sometimes even wrong (he wrote of the letter X that it "begins no word in the English language") but learned, entertaining, and dogged. It's a treat to browse through, although I read it cover to cover, or, as you like it. I did.
Johnson's version of this literary-reference dictionary was extensive-- this is a sampling from the 18th century genius' colleciton that Lynch, a scholar, has put together. If you love reading and language, this is a must! With this and the OED, you are set.