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Samuel Johnson's Dictionary: Selections from the 1755 Work That Defined the English Language [Hardcover]

Jack Lynch

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Book Description

Oct. 14 2004
Samuel Johnson's 1755 two volume, 2,300 page dictionary marked a milestone in language. The work of a great reader and writer, and an earnest compiler, it was England's definitive dictionary for over 150 years until it was superseded by The Oxford English Dictionary. This new edition contains more than 3,100 selections faithfully adapted from the original. Bristling with quotations, the Dictionary offers a treasury of memorable passages on subjects ranging from books and critics to dreams and ethics. For those who appreciate literature and love language, this is a browser's delight - an encyclopaedia of the age and a dictionary for the ages. fribbler n.s. [from the verb.] A trifler A fribbler is one who professes rapture for the woman, and dreads her consent. Spectator No. 288 to lisp v.n. [hlisp, Saxon.] To speak with too frequent applauses of the tongue to the teeth or palate, like children. Come, I cannot cog, and say, thou art this and that, like a many of these lisping hawthorn buds, that come like women in mens apparel and smell like Bucklersbury in sampling time. Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor urinator n.s. [Urinateur, Fr. Urinator, Lat.] A diver; one who searches under water. The precious things that grow there, as pearl, may be much more easily fetched up by the help of this, than by any other way of urinators. Wilkins Math. Magic. abnormous adj. [abnormis, Lat. Our of rule] Irregular, misshapen. Afterclap n.s. Unexpected events happening after an affair is supposed to be at an end.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (Oct. 14 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184354296X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843542964
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 4.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,282,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“A fine new condensed version…it still rewards browsing far more than any other dictionary on the market.”—David Kipen, San Francisco Chronicle
“If a dictionary can be said to have a personality, this one does…the great pleasure of such a book, [is] the way it returns language to us, expanding our ideas of what, exactly, English is…Lynch makes this monumental work manageable.”—David Ulin, Los Angeles Times
“An immensely useful tool for any Johnsonian, whether scholar or general reader, and performed with Lynch’s well-known learning and precision.”—Paul Fussell, author of Samuel Johnson and the Life of Writing and The Great War and Modern Memory
“Through the years I was working on John Adams, I kept an original edition of Johnson’s Dictionary at hand, as I became increasingly aware that the meanings of words in his time were often very different than in our day. I think this new edition has done all present-day lovers of the English language and of the incomparable Dr. Johnson a great service.”—David McCullough
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jack Lynch is a professor of English at Rutgers University and a Johnson scholar. He is the author of The Age of Elizabeth in the Age of Johnson and the editor of A Bibliography of Johnsonian Studies, 1986-1998. He also serves as joint editor of The Age of Johnson: A Scholarly Annual.

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Amazon.com: 2.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Amateurish edition, unworthy of a great work Aug. 5 2007
By A bookish fellow - Published on Amazon.com
It's great fun to see a portable edition of the 'dixonary' as Thackeray's headmistress called it. However, this edition from the purveyors of the upscale office furnishings catalog needs a lot more editing and polishing. The Greek in the derivations, for one thing, is atrociously copyedited, replete with mistranscribed letters and spelling mistakes, and completely missing accentuation. This is unforgivable; Johnson, though no Classical scholar, tried to be scrupulously correct in his Greek spelling and accentuation. Johnson's English orthography is mostly updated to 21st century conventions, except when it randomly isn't. (The introduction says no updating has taken place. This is not true.) There is no information given about the editor, or his methods, which makes the whole work a bit suspect.

There are much better editions of the 'Dixonary' out there. Please, find a better one!

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