10 Most Fascinating Facts about Dictionaries

Elmira | 10 - 17 - 2020
10 Most Fascinating Facts about Dictionaries

The dictionary is a reference source in which words are listed in alphabetical order. Steven Wright once said about reading a dictionary that ‘I finally got around to reading the dictionary.’ ‘Turns out the zebra did it.’ Uncover more fascinating facts about the history of dictionaries, and learn about the most respected dictionary and other dictionary facts!

Most Fascinating Facts about Dictionaries

 We have put together important facts you might not know about various dictionaries.

 1.The First Dictionary

The first single-language dictionary in the English language was known as the “Table Alphabetical.” This dictionary was created by Robert Cawdrey in 1604 and contained almost 3000 words. This dictionary didn’t have definitions and synonyms. The purpose of writing this dictionary was to introduce the most complicated words to “ladies, gentlewomen, or any other unskilful persons,” so that they could understand scriptures and sermons.

     2. It Took around 70 Years to Complete the Oxford Dictionary

    Oxford University Press introduced the first part of the dictionary in 1884, and in 1928 the final volume was published. It was called A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles. It listed more than 400,000 words and phrases.

    3. The Longest Word

    Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is the longest word in the English dictionary which is the name of a lung disease. The word contains 45 letters.

     4. Noah Webster Spent 27 Years Creating the American Dictionary of the English Language

    Noah Webster took 27 years to research and compile his American Dictionary of the English Language. He learned around 26 languages. The final book contained 12,000 words which was higher than other dictionaries.

     5. New Words Are Added Every Year

     A list of most surprising, mostly slang words were included in the dictionary at the end of the year. Merriam-Webster included 550 new words during the first cycle in April 2020.

     6. The Most Famous Dictionary Error of All Time

     Human error is natural, dictionary editors also make mistakes. The most notable dictionary error of all time is “dord”, it is an imposter word. Surprisingly, no one observed the error in Webster’s New International Dictionary for five years!

     7. They Missed a Real Word for 50 Years

     In the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary published in 1888, the word “bondmaid” wasn’t added in the dictionary for 50 years. This term had been in common use in the 16th century.

     8. Poetry Fake Words

    In addition to the famous “dord,” there are several fake words that had been included in the dictionary. “Phantomnation”-is from the epic poem The Odyssey and another “word,” “red ripening,” came from a poem by Richard Savage.

     9. A Guide to Lexicography 

    Lexicography is the term coined to describe the study of dictionaries. In 1955, Ladislav Zgusta, a professor of linguistics and classics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was the first person to write a guide to lexicography.

     10. Every Dictionary Is Out of Date

     As Samuel Johnson stated, “Dictionaries are like watches, the worst is better than none, and the best cannot be expected to go quite true.”  Languages are constantly evolving and changing, there is no dictionary ever made that can update new words every day.

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