A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Activity." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: June 14, 2017. .

  1. Johnson records the verse as “Isaiah 66:44” when it should be “Isaiah 66:24.”

  2. atrejub on November 22nd, 2010 at 2:34 pm
  3. That Cymbeline quote is awesome.

  4. Beau on December 1st, 2010 at 8:11 pm
  5. “I pop with perspicacity.” Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman.

  6. smurfthumper on December 12th, 2010 at 5:12 pm
  7. I admire and cheer for your efforts!

  8. Jeff X on December 30th, 2010 at 10:44 am
  9. There is no entry in the dictionary for kex (hence the link going to kecksy). A kex is a hollow-jointed plant.

  10. Brandi on January 8th, 2011 at 5:21 pm
  11. There is no entry for “beakiron.”

  12. Brandi on January 12th, 2011 at 5:32 am
  13. The Betterton quote is actually a translated passage from Chaucer’s “The Reeve’s Tale:”

    Til that hir corn was faire and weel ygrounde.
    And whan the mele is sakked and ybounde

    Johnson states in the Preface, “But as every language has a time of rudeness antecedent to perfection, as well as of false refinement and declension, I have been cautious lest my zeal for antiquity might drive me into times too remote, and croud my book with words now no longer understood. I have fixed Sidney’s work for the boundary, beyond which I make few excursions.”

    By using this translation, Johnson is able to get Chaucer into the dictionary without using antiquated language. For more on this, see William Snell’s “A Note on Dr. Samuel Johnson and the Reception of Chaucer in Eighteenth-Century England” (Hiyoshi Review of English Studies, No. 44, 2004), available here.

  14. Brandi on January 25th, 2011 at 8:09 am
  15. For more on the Farrier’s Dictionary, see this note.

  16. Brandi on January 30th, 2011 at 8:04 pm
  17. The Ichneumon is now commonly referred to as an Egyptian Mongoose.

  18. Brandi on January 31st, 2011 at 3:19 am
  19. “Salve magna parens” is the motto for the city of Lichfield and is taken from Virgil’s Georgics: “hail, thou great parent” or “hail, mighty mother”.

  20. Brandi on March 27th, 2011 at 9:21 pm
  21. Rough translation of the Spelman quote:

    “The ancient Saxons were divided up, according to Nithard, into three classes: Edhilingi, Filingi & Lazzi, or nobles, free-born, and slaves; we have long since upheld that distinction. But Richard II set free most of the slaves; that is why today among the English the slave, which is said to be a possession, is much harder to find. Nevertheless the memory of the old term remains. That is to say, today we call the idle lazie.”

  22. Brandi on March 27th, 2011 at 11:07 pm
  23. χρυσῆ ἀφροδίτη = “Golden Aphrodite”

    The Horace (from Odes 4.2) reads: “and raises [his] golden soul and will up to the stars.”

  24. Brandi on March 31st, 2011 at 3:16 am
  25. Do you know how much the 2 volume 1755 printed version weighs?

  26. Sandi Edgar on April 6th, 2011 at 2:30 pm
  27. According to Paul Groves, “The first edition was a cumbersome 2,300-page volume weighing about 22lbs, the weight of a large turkey.”

    Source: “Johnson’s Dictionary: Dr Johnson’s World in Just 42,773 Words; Dr Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary is 250 Years Old.” Birmingham Post, April 9, 2005, p. 43-44.

    Henry Hitchings (quoted by Groves at various times in the above article) states that the first edition was “around twenty pounds.” (Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary, p. 209 – The book is listed under Recommended Reading).

  28. Brandi on April 6th, 2011 at 10:19 pm
  29. When this is completed you should consider having it incorporated into other online dictionaries. I often visit the Wordnik website, which uses ten different dictionaries, and I always thought it would be great if Johnson’s dictionary were included.

  30. duckbill on April 20th, 2011 at 2:33 am
  31. Dr. Johnson’s job would have been much easier if Google Books were around in his time. A search for “quaggy” in Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa yields the following sentence:

    “Behold her then, spreading the whole troubled bed with her huge quaggy carcase…”

  32. Brandi on April 21st, 2011 at 6:39 pm
  33. Translation of the Horace quotes by Andrew Wood (Edinburgh: William P. Nimmo, 1872).

    Epist., ii. 2 [l. 110].
    [He who a poem to indite desires,
    Which may a genuine work be deem’d, requires]
    That with his tablets he take up the mind
    Of a fair critic, and if words he find
    Which sparkle lack and weight, and which may seem
    Inane — in short, unworthy of his theme —
    These to expunge he will not hesitate,
    Though their removal ‘gainst his will may grate,
    And though they still may — hid from mortal eye —
    In the recesses of his sanctum lie.
    A worthy poet for the people’s use
    Will ferret out, and to the light produce
    Expressive terms long hid from public view,
    Used by old Cato and Cethegus too,
    Though now they’re cover’d by unsightly mould
    And dust of what is obsolete and old;
    New words he’ll use if sanction’d they shall be
    By custom — parent of all novelty;
    Impetuous — flowing like a river pure —
    His treasures he’ll pour forth, and thus procure
    The boon of a rich tongue for Latium; […]

    De Arte Poetica [l. 48.]
    If haply to describe, it needful be,
    Subjects abstruse by words coin’d recently,
    These words to fashion we’re compell’d, I own,
    Which to high-girt Cethegi were unknown,
    And license will be given as needs occasion,
    But license it must be in moderation.
    New words, and words but recently contrived,
    Will credit have if they should be derived
    From a Greek root with small degree of change —
    What truly! shall a Roman grant a range
    To Plautus and Caecilius which in vain
    Virgil and Varius may hope to gain?
    Shall there be grudged to me a boon not great
    If I a few new phrases can create,
    Since Ennius’ and Cato’s conversation
    Enrich’d the language of the Roman nation
    And new words introduced? None will refuse
    Nor have refused words seal’d by present use.

  34. Brandi on April 28th, 2011 at 12:49 am
  35. The second definition is referring to the size of the font the supplied Pope quote is printed in (Johnson could have chosen any quote). The OED defines this use of “bourgeois” as “A size of printing type between Long Primer and Brevier.”

    bourgeois, n.2
    Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. http://www.oed.com.libproxy.wustl.edu/Entry/22111; accessed 29 April 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1887.

  36. Brandi on April 29th, 2011 at 12:47 pm
  37. I do not see any information identifying who exactly — or what organization — is behind this project. Do I sense the fine non-Italian hand of Jack Lynch here?

    Woderful effort. Your project in fact has great usefulness to genealogists and family historians researching British (or colonial) ancestors of the time. We often come across words and usages we are not familiar with. Thank you for providing a fine reference.

  38. Karen Rhodes on April 29th, 2011 at 2:05 pm
  39. I’m glad that the project is so helpful to you all. If there are any words you come across in your genealogical research, which I haven’t added yet, please let me know and I’ll add them right away.

    This project is done entirely by myself. My name is Brandi and I’m a graduate student studying German literature. I really like dictionaries and encyclopedias, and I find Johnson’s Dictionary particularly fascinating. This project is something I work on in my free time – it acts as a wonderful stress reducer. Jack Lynch isn’t involved (I’m flattered you thought he was!), but he has thanked me for taking up this project, and I have really enjoyed his books.

  40. Brandi on April 29th, 2011 at 10:35 pm
  41. The line in the definition attributed to Shakespeare (“He was so gaunt, the case of a flagellet was a mansion for him. Shakesp.”) is altered slightly from the actual line, found at the end of Act III of Henry IV, p. 2:

    “I saw it; and told John of Gaunt, he beat his own name: for you might have truss’d him, and all his apparel, into an eel-skin: the case of a treble hautboy was a mansion for him, a court: and now has he land and beeves.”

    A hautboy is an oboe; similarly, a flageolet (flagellet) is a woodwind instrument.

  42. Brandi on May 4th, 2011 at 3:17 pm
  43. The “anonymous” quote is one of Samuel Johnson’s own: it is a line from his poem “London.”

  44. Brandi on May 12th, 2011 at 10:41 pm
  45. The “anonymous” quotation is from Samuel Johnson’s “The Vanity of Human Wishes.”

  46. Brandi on May 12th, 2011 at 10:47 pm
  47. The anonymous quote seems to be a paraphrase from the poem “On the Countess Dowager of ————” by Charles Montagu, the 1st Earl of Halifax. Halifax’s original lines (which appear in a volume of The Works of the English Poets – a series edited by Johnson) are:

    “And, all in order, on her toilet lay
    Prayer-books, patch-boxes, sermon notes, and paint
    At once t’ improve the sinner and the saint.”

    The lines as Johnson quotes them are also quoted in a reader’s letter in The Spectator, #79, where they are attributed to “a witty author.”

  48. Brandi on May 12th, 2011 at 11:05 pm
  49. Thank you very much! This dictionary is what I just become interested in and want to borrow from the library. Fortunately, now I can read through it online.

  50. Valerie Lang on May 13th, 2011 at 12:41 am
  51. hello, do you know to whom samuel johnson dedicated his dictionary?

  52. kathie on May 23rd, 2011 at 9:30 pm
  53. Johnson didn’t dedicate the dictionary. It’s actually quite an interesting story:

    When the booksellers approached Johnson about creating the dictionary, they requested that he compose a plan for tackling the project and to address it to Lord Chesterfield, in the hopes of gaining his patronage. Johnson (who didn’t like accepting charity) begrudgingly did so, but Chesterfield failed to come through with any serious financial support.

    Then, years later, as the dictionary was about to be published, Chesterfield published two anonymous letters in The World, hoping to get a dedication. Johnson responded back to Chesterfield negatively in a letter, and didn’t dedicate the dictionary to anyone… certainly not his supposed patron.

    More on this: Boswell’s Life of Johnson (1754).

  54. Brandi on May 23rd, 2011 at 9:40 pm
  55. “Distinguish form. Shakesp. Richard III.”

    Should be: –

    “Distinguish form. Shakesp. Richard II.”

  56. Paul Baker on August 2nd, 2011 at 6:50 am
  57. “1. A poposition evident…”

    Should read: –

    “1. A proposition evident…”

  58. Paul Baker on August 2nd, 2011 at 7:40 am
  59. Fixed. Thank you.

  60. Brandi on August 2nd, 2011 at 8:42 am
  61. Fixed. Thank you.

  62. Brandi on August 2nd, 2011 at 8:43 am
  63. One of my all-time favorite definitions! A marvel of accuracy (for the time) and concision.

  64. James Friend on August 2nd, 2011 at 11:01 am
  65. There are some significant differences between different copies for this entry. In the British Library scan, Abide is a single entry with 11 definitions. This is the version used for the transcription here. The dictionary scan used for Page View, however, splits Abide up into two entries: Abide (verb neuter) and Abide (verb active). Furthermore, the definitions are presented in a different order:

    Order of Definitions

    B.L. Scan       P.V. Scan
    1 1 (verb neuter)
    2 2 (verb neuter)
    3 3 (verb neuter)
    4 4 (verb neuter)
    5 4 (verb active)
    6 5 (verb active)
    7 1 (verb active)
    8 3 (verb active)
    9 2 (verb active)
    10 5 (verb neuter)
    11 6 (verb neuter)

    For more on why these differences exist in different copies of the first edition, see FAQ #1.

  66. Brandi on August 13th, 2011 at 6:20 pm
  67. Excellent! Hope that you have visited us at Samuel Johnson’s Birthplace in Lichfield!
    IF not then you would be made very welcome!

  68. David TItley on August 27th, 2011 at 9:13 am
  69. Wonderful, keep up the good work!

  70. Mike Nightingale on November 18th, 2011 at 11:24 am
  71. The “tude; meritorious.” half-line seems to be a printing error. It appears in all three of the copies of the dictionary used for this site; in all three copies, this section of the dictionary was printed by printer 2, as per the press figure.

  72. Brandi on November 24th, 2011 at 6:59 am
  73. This definition is for the Hamburgh Chicken. The latin name gallina turcica was coined by Aldrovandi; it has never referred to a turkey (meleagris gallopavo), but to what is now called the Hamburgh Chicken, which has had, over the course of history, the names “Turkey Fowl,” “Bolton Grey,” “Creole Fowl,” and “Dutch Everyday Layers” (see The Country Gentleman: A Journal for the Farm, the Garden, and the Fireside, Albany, NY. Nov 16, 1854. Vol. IV, No. 20, Whole No. 98. Page 315).

  74. Brandi on November 24th, 2011 at 7:48 am
  75. The Greek text is included by Johnson as a “salute to his literary homeland” (DeMaria, Jr, Robert. Johnson’s Dictionary and the Language of Learning. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1986. p. 26). It is taken from an anonymous epigram from The Greek Anthology.

    The full epigram:

    τί ἂν εἴποι Ὀδυσσεὺς ἐπιβὰς τῆς Ἰθάκης

    χαῖρ᾽ Ἰθάκη: μετ᾽ ἄεθλα, μετ᾽ ἄλγεα πικρὰ θαλάσσης
    ἀσπασίως τεὸν οὖδας ἱκάνομαι, ὄφρα νοήσω
    Λαέρτην, ἄλοχόν τε καὶ ἀγλαὸν υἱέα μοῦνον
    σὸς γὰρ ἔρως κατέθελξεν ἐμὸν νόον. οἶδα καὶ αὐτός,
    ‘ὡς οὐδὲν γλύκιον ἧς πατρίδος οὐδὲ τοκήων.’

    What Ulysses would say on landing in Ithaca

    Hail, Ithaca! After all my labours and the bitter woes of the sea, right glad am I to reach thy soil, in hope to see Laertes and my wife and glorious only son. Love of thee soothed my heart; I myself know that “nothing is sweeter than a man’s country and his parents.”

    (Source: The Greek Anthology., Vol. III. edited and translated by W. R. Paton. The Loeb Classical Library. London: William Heinemann, 1925. Epigram #458 – pages 254-257).

  76. Brandi on December 3rd, 2011 at 5:49 am
  77. From the book review for Miscellanies in Prose and Verse (by Mrs. Chapone – maiden name Mulso) from The Gentleman’s Magazine, February 1775. pages 86-88:

    Dr. Johnson, on reading this ode several years ago in MS. declared that “he never before had any opinion of female poetry;” and, though a copy was refused him, having retained great part of it by memory, soon after quoted the fourth stanza in his Dictionary, to exemplify the meaning of the word Quatrain, with the name of Mrs. Mulso annexed to it, a name then unknown to the literary world.

    The actual quatrain:

    Say, Stella, what is love, whose tyrant pow’r
    Robs virtue of content, and youth of joy?
    What nymph or goddess, in a fatal hour,
    Gave to the world this mischief-making boy?

  78. Brandi on December 5th, 2011 at 3:23 pm
  79. Paul Baker brought the work of Caroline Knox to my attention. She takes sentences from Chapone’s other works (such as those published in Johnson’s Rambler) and combines them into a narrative (built out of “rugged” quatrains) leading up to the above “Stella” quaitrain.

    Read Knox’s “Quatrains by Hester Mulso (1728-1784)” here.

  80. Brandi on December 6th, 2011 at 4:21 am
  81. Rather than see “Cacao”, see the real (and very long) entry for “Cocoa,” which is in proper alphabetical order on p. 401.

  82. Brandi on December 6th, 2011 at 4:23 pm
  83. Translation of the Baxter:

    Comes from ἔρα (era), earth, and ϝέρα (wera) in the Macedonian dialect; from whence ἔνεροι ἔνϝεροι (eneroi enweroi), and the Roman inferi [below], and which was spoken by our native Scoto-Saxons as feries; this was corrupted by the common people to fairies, καταχθόνιοι δαίμονες (kataxthonioi daimonesspirits from below), spirits of the deceased.

  84. Brandi on December 19th, 2011 at 1:41 pm
  85. In the sample entry “lexicographer” after the illus.quotation, “Watt’s” has the apostrophe in the wrong place and therefore is misspelled. Look at the original which is correct (of course!) “Watts’s”……you must be so careful with apostrophes–so easy to make a mistake; but vitally important!

  86. Louise T. Smith on January 5th, 2012 at 5:19 pm
  87. Unfortunately unintentional typos slip in from time to time. The error has now been fixed.

  88. Brandi on January 5th, 2012 at 5:21 pm
  89. Dear Brandi,

    By pure happenstance I came upon your etymology of Fairy (copied below) and was brought up short by the grating tautology of ‘from whence’. Perhaps I’m not the only one to point out this slip, but I couldn’t resist commenting on it – indeed, none of us are falable!

    Translation of the Baxter:

    Comes from ἔρα (era), earth, and ϝέρα (wera) in the Macedonian dialect; from whence ἔνεροι ἔνϝεροι (eneroi enweroi), and the Roman inferi [below], and which was spoken by our native Scoto-Saxons as feries; this was corrupted by the common people to fairies, καταχθόνιοι δαίμονες (kataxthonioi daimones – spirits from below), spirits of the deceased.

  90. James Alton on January 7th, 2012 at 9:51 am
  91. I find “from whence” to be more of a stylistic choice, and not a severe grammatical failing. It was not “a slip,” but language which I felt represented Baxter’s original 17th century Latin. I believe the only time when it is appropriate to comment on or question someone else’s use of language is when that language is unclear and clarification is needed to ascertain the intended meaning. For example, I could not find falable in the Oxford English Dictionary, and would like to know if you meant fallible or, as the “none” would suggest, infallible? I am a descriptivist, like Johnson was.

    Johnson personally shared your displeasure with “from whence,” as he called it “vitious,” but he still included it in the dictionary, because it appears in works written by good authors, and therefore is real English. It is English as it is used. Johnson quotes Spenser and Shakespeare, and the phrase can also be found in Defoe, Hobbes, Twain, and Dickens.

    Most important, though, is the fact that Johnson himself uses it, as can be seen here, in many of his etymologies. For example, in the entry Abbess, Johnson writes “Lat. abbatissa, from whence the Saxon abudisse.” For consistency, therefore, my use of it in translating the above etymology is appropriate.

  92. Brandi on January 7th, 2012 at 1:53 pm
  93. I love it! It’s all I can say
    Thanks a lot

  94. jean-michel on January 18th, 2012 at 2:53 am
  95. Can I help?

  96. Julian Talamantez Brolaski on January 19th, 2012 at 9:33 pm
  97. Proofreading is a big help. If you notice a transcription error, please contact me.

  98. Brandi on January 20th, 2012 at 6:20 am
  99. If time permits, can the words regulate, rule and commerce be added soon? It would be most helpful. Those that discuss the Constitution often reference Johnsons. Thank you.

  100. EE Johnson on February 7th, 2012 at 7:27 am
  101. Brandi on February 7th, 2012 at 8:31 am
  102. “Copmendiousness” should be “Compendiousness”

  103. Van Snyder on February 24th, 2012 at 8:37 pm
  104. Fixed. Thanks.

  105. Brandi on February 25th, 2012 at 1:41 am
  106. i love this! its great for my education and i love english

  107. Luke Whetton on March 5th, 2012 at 6:40 am
  108. i agree with luke.

  109. christopher spenser on March 5th, 2012 at 6:47 am
  110. There is no “noun” entry for English. The above therefore links to the adjective entry, which includes the etymology.

  111. Brandi on March 5th, 2012 at 7:42 am
  112. χλωροτέρη πόιας = pale green.

    The full bit by Sappho (last stanza of fragment 2 or 31, depending on the numbering) is as follows:

    ἀ δέ μίδρως κακχέεται, τρόμος δέ
    παῖσαν ἄγρει, χλωροτέρα δὲ ποίας
    ἔμμι, τεθνάκην δ’ ὀλίγω ‘πιδεύης
    φαίνομαι [ἄλλα].

    And cold drops fall; and tremblings frail
    Seize every limb; and grassy pale
    I grow; and then–together fall
    Both sight and sound.
    (John Herman Merivale, 1833)

  113. Brandi on March 8th, 2012 at 5:36 pm
  114. I am researching the life of George Ord (1781-1886) of Philadelphia, who is said to have contributed many entries to Johnson’s expanded dictionary (as well as Noah Webster’s first dictionary).

    How may I find out which and how many entries he provided to Johnson’s dictionary.

    Thanks in advance for any help you might provide.

  115. Al Dorof on March 10th, 2012 at 4:39 pm
  116. Al,

    Johnson died in 1784, when Ord was only 3 years old. Any entries linked to Ord which appeared in “Johnson” dictionaries would have been added by later lexicographers (many of whom linked the title of their dictionary to Johnson merely for marketing purposes). I focus on the original dictionary Johnson produced, so I do not know much about post-Johnson additions.

    I was going to suggest looking at the online OED, but I tried searching for George Ord there myself and was unable to find any contributions or sources linked to Ord.

    Sorry that I’m unable to provide any further assistance.

  117. Brandi on March 10th, 2012 at 4:56 pm
  118. A monumental digital achievement of a monumental work of scholarship. Thank you, thank you for bringing Dr. Johnson’s words and intellect to life.

  119. Peter O'Brien on April 3rd, 2012 at 1:51 pm
  120. Would you be able to transcribe “Indubitable”?

  121. Amanda Patchin on April 18th, 2012 at 10:34 am
  122. I have not found the source of the following quotation: “For shame, so much to do, and yet idle. Bull.” I know that it is not from Arbuthnot’s John Bull, as most “Bull” quotations are. If you know this quote’s source, please let me know.

  123. Brandi on April 18th, 2012 at 1:07 pm
  124. Hats off to you, Brandi! I am teaching Lexicography and stumbled upon your project accidentally.

  125. Attila on April 22nd, 2012 at 3:16 pm
  126. I believe there is a misprint in the paragraph that begins “HOW far…”.

    Its first effect has been to make me anxious lest [NOT left] it should fix the attention of the public too much upon me
    “Lest” make smore sense.

  127. Attila on April 23rd, 2012 at 1:42 pm
  128. Thanks for the catch! It was indeed supposed to be “lest” – OCR often messes up the long “s” and I missed that one. I’ve fixed it now.

  129. Brandi on April 23rd, 2012 at 1:47 pm
  130. Great.Here’s another one (sorry, I am not doing it to annoy you):

    Of those which yet continue in the state of aliens, and have made no approaches towards assimilation, some seem necessary to be retained, because the purchasers [NOT purchases] of the dictionary

  131. Attila on April 23rd, 2012 at 2:07 pm
  132. Fixed that one too. 🙂

  133. Brandi on April 23rd, 2012 at 2:09 pm
  134. Two other differences I noticed between the Google version and this webpage:

    IN exhibiting the descent of our language
    IN the descent of our language

    BY this method every word will have its history,
    BY this method every words will have its history,

  135. Attila on April 23rd, 2012 at 4:43 pm
  136. Those are now also fixed.

  137. Brandi on April 23rd, 2012 at 4:45 pm
  138. Hello! I was so glad to find this on-line dictionary with the quotes from literature masterpieces. Well done! I enjoy reading it a lot.

  139. Darrell Stecker on May 14th, 2012 at 1:57 am
  140. Did Johnson write a preface or introduction to his dictionary? I want to use such a preface as a type of essay for use in my Advanced Composition class.

    Thank you,
    Sr. Mary Dominic

  141. Sr. Mary Dominic Pitts, O.P. on May 24th, 2012 at 3:47 pm
  142. Yes, he did. The Preface is transcribed here, and can be seen in Page View on pages 2 through 11.

  143. Brandi on May 24th, 2012 at 3:52 pm
  144. A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value – you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini-raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindbogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you – daft as a brush, but very very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

    More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet-weather gear, space suit, etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have ‘lost’. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still know where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

    Hence a phrase which has passed into hitch-hiking slang, as in ‘Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.’ (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams (1979)

  145. Brandi on May 25th, 2012 at 4:10 am
  146. ^ awesome

  147. Amanda on May 25th, 2012 at 9:48 am
  148. The full Jervas:

    I have done Homer’s head, shadowed and heightened carefully; and I inclose the outline of the same size, that you may determine whether you would have it so large, or reduced to make room for feuillage or laurel round the oval, or about the square of the busto? perhaps there is something more solemn in the image itself, if I can get it well performed. (August 20, 1714)

    Jervas’ Homer (without feuillage) is “prefixed to the first edition of Pope’s translation of the Iliad.”
    (The Works of Alexander Pope, Esq. with Notes and Illustrations by Himself and Others. To Which are Added, A New Life of the Author, an Estimate of His Poetical Character and Writings and Occasional Remarks by William Roscoe, Esq. In Ten Volumes. Vol. VIII. London, 1824. p. 524)

    The Iliad of Homer. Translated by Mr. Pope. London: W. Bowyer, 1715.

  149. Brandi on May 26th, 2012 at 4:41 am
  150. You can read more about Demosthenes and his orations against Philip II of Macedon on Wikipedia.

  151. Brandi on May 26th, 2012 at 5:14 am
  152. Translation of Martial’s epigram (Book 13, #71):

    The Flamingo

    My red-colored feather gives me my name but our tongue is tasted by the gluttonous. What if our tongue were loquacious?

    Flamingo tongue was considered a delicacy in Ancient Rome.

  153. Brandi on May 27th, 2012 at 4:04 am
  154. Typesetter’s error: gaden should be garden.

  155. Brandi on June 3rd, 2012 at 3:33 am
  156. Typesetter’s error: opprobrions in the Daniel quote should be opprobrious.

  157. Brandi on June 3rd, 2012 at 3:34 am
  158. It was believed in 15th and 16th century Italy that the bite of the wolf spider, often called tarantula (though it was not big or hairy like what we call tarantula today), caused a disease called tarantism, which could only be cured by dancing the fast-paced Tarantella.

  159. Brandi on June 14th, 2012 at 3:57 am
  160. Is there any way to get to a specif word (not on your list) in the page view for a letter? Or must one go page by page until the desired entry appears? A bit tedious this . . .
    Advice welcome

  161. Susan W on June 24th, 2012 at 3:50 pm
  162. OCR does not handle 18th century texts very well yet, so unfortunately, until all of the entries are transcribed and linked to their pages, the quickest way to jump to a specific word is to use the drop-down boxes at the top of the “Page View” pages. For example, if you want “nubiferous” (which has not been transcribed yet), you would go to Page View and select “N” from the first drop-down box. This would fill the second drop-down box with a list of the pages in “N,” and you would scroll down to the one that says “Now – Null” and hit the “Go” button, since “nubiferous” should fall between those (not a guarantee, however, since Johnson doesn’t always perfectly follow alphabetical order). This would take you to the right page, where you would find “nubiferous” in the right-hand column about mid-page.

  163. Brandi on June 24th, 2012 at 4:12 pm
  164. I’ve just stumbled on this site while doing some research away from my usual access to ECCO – Thank you so much, Brandi – I hope this is still ongoing – what a service!

  165. Lailarae on June 26th, 2012 at 9:35 am
  166. There is a transcription error in the second sentence under the letter “h”. It should read: ‘the h in English is scarcely “ever” mute’; not “every”

  167. Felicia Agyepong on July 12th, 2012 at 4:39 pm
  168. Thanks for catching that. It has been fixed both on the “H” entry page and on the alphabet page.

  169. Brandi on July 13th, 2012 at 6:27 am
  170. Felicia on July 17th, 2012 at 6:02 am
  171. Discard my earlier comment on ‘completely’ having been misspelled as ‘compleatly’. I have read it in page view and have seen that the transcription of ‘compleatly’ is correct. I didn’t know that word as the archaic of ‘complete’. We learn everyday, don’t we?

    Thanks once again.

  172. Felicia on July 17th, 2012 at 6:46 am
  173. Lovely and useful font help! But I believe it should be “the Tironian ‘et'”, not “the Tironian note”; there are many Tironian notes; this one specifically represents “et”.

  174. Miranda on July 31st, 2012 at 2:25 am
  175. Technically you are right, so I will change it 🙂 The Tironian ‘et’ is the only Tironian note used in Anglo-Saxon (and thus the only one Johnson uses), so sometimes in literature about Old English manuscripts it referred to as the Tironian note, despite the existence of many, many others.

  176. Brandi on August 9th, 2012 at 12:37 pm
  177. Yup, happy to see this one in there. I had to write a masters paper on Samuel Johnson and was happy to see that some of the definitions flavored with his sense of humor have made it to the online version. Thanks for putting this together.

  178. Adam on August 26th, 2012 at 4:53 pm
  179. Good Quotes!

  180. edd on August 28th, 2012 at 1:57 pm
  181. I am trying to find out what typeface the original 1755 book was set it. Do t=you know, or know where I might be able to find out?


  182. Stephanie Igou on September 20th, 2012 at 2:35 pm
  183. The answer to this question (or the closest I can come to one) can be found in the essay “The typographic design of Johnson’s Dictionary” by Paul Luna in Anniversary Essays on Johnson’s Dictionary, edited by Jack Lynch and Anne McDermott.

    “In type design, the faces cut by William Caslon in the 1720s and 1730s provided a systematic (though not wholly uniform) set of related roman, italic, and small-cap founts in a full range of sizes. […] Johnson’s printer, William Strahan, bought his types from the Scottish typefounder Alexander Wilson, who offered faces ‘conformable to the London types,’ in other words close in design to those of Caslon.” (p. 179)

  184. Brandi on September 20th, 2012 at 4:42 pm
  185. Begging pardon, Felicia, but the spelling that Johnson used is correct in the context of his era although it is not correct according Late Modern English standards. Would you fault Chaucer’s original spelling as well based on contemporary usage? It is what it is. If Johnson’s text uses “compleatly” then it is a faithful rendition of the original.

  186. Cynthia on September 22nd, 2012 at 2:35 pm
  187. trouble is it takes half an hour to find a word if not yet transcribed, since if you want ‘time’ you go to ‘T’ and then have to turn some 50 pages, one at a time, to get to to ‘time’. Why not allow one to select a page by number?

  188. Mark on October 25th, 2012 at 1:44 am
  189. Mark,

    go to “Page View.” Under the title “Page View” and above the image and page number are two drop-down boxes – “Select Section” and “Select Page”. If you wanted to find “time,” for instance, you would select “T” from the first box. This causes the “Select Page” box to be filled in with the pages from the “T” section, enabling you to select “Tillyfally – Time.” Press the “Go” button and that page is loaded.

  190. Brandi on October 25th, 2012 at 8:23 am
  191. Hic jacet auctor hujus argumenti means “Here lies the author of this argument.”

  192. Brandi on November 3rd, 2012 at 8:54 pm
  193. Do you have a definition of “arms” as in weaponry? This also is significant in interpreting the constitution.

  194. Misha Dennis on November 23rd, 2012 at 1:07 am
  195. Here it is, newly transcribed from page 159: Arms

  196. Brandi on November 23rd, 2012 at 5:42 pm
  197. Varium & mutabile semper femina means “woman is ever a fickle and changeable thing.”

  198. Brandi on November 27th, 2012 at 11:27 pm
  199. The London quote is from Johnson’s own poem London:

    Couldst thou resign the park and play content,
    For the fair banks of Severn or of Trent;
    There might’st thou find some elegant retreat,
    Some hireling senator’s deserted seat;
    And stretch thy prospects o’er the smiling land,
    For less than rents the dungeons of the Strand:


    from The Works of Samuel Johnson. LL. D. with an Essay on His Life and Genius, by Arthur Murphy, esq. Third Complete American Edition. In Two Volumes. New York: Harper & Brothers, Vol. 1, p. 547.

  200. Brandi on December 6th, 2012 at 10:36 am
  201. In later editions, the etymology was corrected to read:
    [from element.]

  202. Brandi on December 6th, 2012 at 12:57 pm
  203. Brandi: You are my hero. What a wonderful project. I have been looking for an unabridged version of the good Doctor’s masterpiece for years, so imagine my surprise when I found one online. My favorite use to which to put Dr. Johnson’s dictionary is when reading the original writings of the Founding Fathers. As Gordon Wood has pointed out, the meaning of what they said is often misunderstood when we apply 21st century definitions, e.g., disinterested. My next project will be to read the Declaration of Independence and Constitution in concert with Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary to see if I can gain any additional insighst. Keep up the great work and THANK YOU!


  204. Andy on December 10th, 2012 at 11:32 am
  205. I am almost embarrassed to provide a correction to such a massive project, yet comforted by being conscious of the near impossibility to produce so large a project without some manifestation of human error. So here it is: ‘th’ in ‘this’, is, as matter of fact, voiced. An example of an unvoiced ‘th’ would be in the word ‘three’.

  206. Giancarlo Aspasini on December 17th, 2012 at 3:14 am
  207. No embarrassment on your end needed! I’ve corrected the table.

    I am keeping the errors that are Johnson’s, but there are many of my own human and typographic errors throughout these pages, unfortunately, so, dear readers, if you stumble upon any, please let me know.

  208. Brandi on December 17th, 2012 at 9:46 am
  209. The quote used to illustrate definition #4 is falsely attributed to Alexander Pope. It is from the prologue to Nicholas Rowe’s The Ambitious Step-mother.

    This mistake shows the extent that Johnson’s dictionary was copied word for word by so many other dictionaries. Johnson used many of Nathan Bailey’s definitions in his dictionary, and then many of the quotations Johnson used were inserted into later editions of Bailey’s. The 5th edition of Nathan Bailey’s Universal Etymological English Dictionary, for instance, appeared in 1775 and prints the “Pope” quote verbatim.

    The mistake appears in later works as well, such as A Dictionary of the English Language, edited by Noah Webster (1828), A Cyclopædia of Poetical Quotations, edited by H. G. Adams (1853), and The American Educator: A Library of Universal Knowledge, edited by Charles Smith Morris (1897).

    This continued even into the 20th cenetury. The 1906 edition of The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia, edited by William Dwight Whitney, includes six definitions for brute as an adjective, the first four of which closely resemble Johnson’s (and maintain the false Pope attribution):

    1. Senseless; unconscious.

      Not walking statues of clay, not the sons of brute earth. Bentley.

    2. Wanting reason; animal; not human: as, a brute beast.

                  A creature . . . not prone
      And brute as other creatures, but endued
      With sanctity of reason.
      Milton, P. L., vii. 507.

      I was amazed to see such actions and behaviour in brute beasts. Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, iv. 1.

    3. Characteristic of animals; of brutal character or quality.

      Brute violence and proud tyrannic power. Milton, P. R., l. 219.

      The oppressed invoked the power of Christianity to resist the tyranny of brute force. Bancraft, Hist. U. S., II. 454.

    4. Blunt or dull of sentiment; without sensibility; rough; uncivilized; insensible.

      The brute philosopher who ne’er has proved
      The joy of loving or of being loved.

    The only other place I have found the “brute philosopher” associated with the “joy of love” is in the 1760 satirical work Hymen: An Accurate Description of the Ceremonies Used in Marriage, by Every Nation in the Known World, by “Uxorius.” In this work, the phrase, which is unattributed (like many other quotes in the work), reads “let the brute philosopher, whose bosom never felt the ineffable joy of loving, or being loved, treat you as the tyrants of our liberty…”

  210. Brandi on January 13th, 2013 at 1:19 pm
  211. I wonder is there was a definition for ‘people’ as in The People…did Johnson define that?

  212. Marco Dz on January 17th, 2013 at 1:24 pm
  213. The first of the five definitions under “People (noun)” is “A nation; these who compose a community,” which includes an illustrative quotation from Shakespeare’s Coriolanus: “What is the city but the people? / True the people are the city.” The entry can be found here.

  214. Brandi on January 17th, 2013 at 1:58 pm
  215. I love this reference! Thank you for having it! I started out looking for the colonial meaning of the phrase “prudent jealousy” and am engrossed in these words.
    I wonder what will they think of us in 200 years?

  216. ecummings on January 19th, 2013 at 9:31 am
  217. [ik, Gothick; ic, Saxon; ich, Dutch.]

    Suggested corrections:
    In Dutch the ego-pronoun is “ik” and not “ich”,
    In German the ego-pronoun is “ich”.

  218. j. Richter on January 23rd, 2013 at 10:01 am
  219. This site is a digital version of Samuel Johnson’s 1755 dictionary, rather than a modern dictionary, so I am faithfully transcribing it and not correcting things that have since been corrected by later etymologists or lexicographers. As Johnson himself states in his Preface, “The work, whatever proofs of diligence and attention it may exhibit, is yet capable of many improvements: the orthography which I recommend is still controvertible, the etymology which I adopt is uncertain, and perhaps frequently erroneous…

  220. Brandi on January 23rd, 2013 at 11:30 am
  221. In Some Notes to the Etymons of English Words (http://www.scribd.com/doc/4026715/Etymology-of-English-Words) the author, John Thomson (1826), claims that the ego-pronoun “was written y by Shakespeare (and Wycliffe!). The Arabs say y for me”. The “y” in these cases are lower case letters.

    I didn’t find conformation for both claims.
    Maybe this would be interesting for you.

  222. j. Richter on January 23rd, 2013 at 10:22 am
  223. thank you this help me alot ! 🙂

  224. jamie dunn on January 24th, 2013 at 3:28 am
  225. OK, thank you!

  226. j. Richter on January 25th, 2013 at 12:18 pm
  227. Illaqueated is misspelled (without an “e”) in the quote from More (see scan) and this is maintained in the transcription.

  228. Brandi on February 16th, 2013 at 4:08 pm
  229. i love this webpage

  230. amy on February 24th, 2013 at 10:58 am
  231. Hi, I was searching for one of the most used words in the 18th century: Nature, but it isn’t here. Can it be added?

  232. Deepali on March 20th, 2013 at 8:53 am
  233. Brandi on March 20th, 2013 at 12:10 pm
  234. Fantastic resource. Thanks Brandi

  235. Caroline on March 26th, 2013 at 7:39 am
  236. The majority of “The History of the English Language” is quoted text (93.5%, or 31118 words). Johnson wrote 2136 words.

  237. Brandi on March 26th, 2013 at 12:19 pm
  238. The quote “They had compassed in his host, and cast darts at the people from morning till evening” is found in 1. Maccabees x. 80, not 1. Maccabees vii. 80.

  239. Brandi on April 24th, 2013 at 11:06 am
  240. The quote “Keep a sure watch over a shameless daughter, lest she make thee a laughing-stock to thine enemies, and a bye-word in the city” comes from Ecclesiasticus xlii. 11, not xli. 11.

  241. Brandi on April 24th, 2013 at 11:26 am
  242. “Time was, a sober Englishman would knock…” comes from Pope’s Imitations of Horace and not from Dryden.

  243. Brandi on April 24th, 2013 at 11:45 am
  244. “And Adam knew Eve his wife” comes from Gen. iv. 1, not Gen. iv. 4.

  245. Brandi on April 24th, 2013 at 11:46 am
  246. The Stratagem mentioned is George Farquhar’s The Beaux’ Stratagem, which takes place in Johnson’s hometown, Lichfield.

  247. Brandi on May 1st, 2013 at 5:07 pm
  248. “He could not draw the dagger out of his belly” comes from Judges iii. 22..

  249. Brandi on May 1st, 2013 at 5:18 pm
  250. “Draw the water for the siege” comes from Nah. iii. 14. (short for “Nahum” – there is no “Nath”).

  251. Brandi on May 1st, 2013 at 5:23 pm
  252. “They drew out the staves of the ark” comes from 2 Chron. v. 9. The verse number is difficult to read in my copies of the dictionary, but it appears to be erroneously a 2.

  253. Brandi on May 1st, 2013 at 5:33 pm
  254. The second Milton quote (“Ladies of th’ Hesperides…”) comes from Paradise Regained (b. ii. l. 357-360).

  255. Brandi on May 1st, 2013 at 5:43 pm
  256. The quote from Browne is actually from b. i. c. 8.

  257. Brandi on May 1st, 2013 at 5:50 pm
  258. The second Bacon quote (“How many things are there…”) comes from his 27th essay (“Of Friendship”), not the 28th (“Of Expense”).

  259. Brandi on May 1st, 2013 at 5:57 pm
  260. The quote from 2. Maccabees is verse 3, not verse 9.

  261. Brandi on May 1st, 2013 at 6:12 pm
  262. Johnson probably quoted the work title instead of a specific author because the poem’s authorship is debated. “Widow and Cat” was a satirical poem written against the Duke of Marlborough. In Johnson’s own anthology The Works of the English Poets, the poem is listed among those by Matthew Prior, with a note stating: “In Tindal’s Continuation of Rapin, XVII. 454, this fable is said to be by Prior or Swift. In Boyer’s Political State, 1720, p. 519, where it is applied to the duke of Marlborough, it is said to be by Swift or Prior. N.” In the modern-day Everyman’s Library anthology The Great Cat: Poems About Cats, the poem is attributed to Jonathan Swift (p. 180).

    According to J. A. Downie, in his book Robert Harley and the Press: Propaganda and Public Opinion in the Age of Swift and Defoe, “Swift collaborated with Arbuthnot on A Fable of the Widow and her Cat, ‘a ballad made by several hands, I know not whom. I believe lord treasurer had a finger in it; I added three stanzas; I suppose Dr Arbuthnot had the greatest share’. Swift saw the poem through the press” (pp. 165-166).

  263. Brandi on May 5th, 2013 at 10:42 pm
  264. “They [Johnson, Beauclerk and Langton] then repaired to one of the neighbouring taverns, and made a bowl of that liquor called Bishop, which Johnson had always liked…”

            — James Boswell. Vol. 1 of The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. edited by Roger Ingpen. 2 Vols. London, Pitman & Sons: 1907. p. 146.

  265. Brandi on May 18th, 2013 at 4:58 pm
  266. I would be very grateful if you could add the following words to your online list:
    Thanks very much in advance.
    Barbara Belyea

  267. Barbara Belyea on May 28th, 2013 at 6:35 am
  268. Brandi on May 28th, 2013 at 9:58 pm
  269. The quote by Francis Bacon is from Essay 52 (“Of Ceremonies and Respects”), not from Essay 53 (“Of Praise”).

  270. Brandi on June 3rd, 2013 at 8:06 am
  271. The Waller poem (from “The Maid’s Tragedy Alter’d”) seems to have a misprint:

    I could have dy’d but once; but, this believe’d,
    I may, alas! be mor ethan once deceiv’d.
    Death was the port, which I almost did gain,
    Shall I once more be tost into the Main?

    Like many dictionary misprints, this error was copied verbatim in a variety of reference works up through the middle of the 19th century (see, for example, the 1816 Encyclopædia Perthensis or the 1826 London Encyclopædia).

  272. Brandi on June 3rd, 2013 at 8:26 am
  273. One of the quotes attributed to Pope (“Yet this false comfort never gives him o’er, / That, whilst he creeps, his vigorous thoughts can soar”) is from the poem “An Essay Upon Satire,” which is usually contributed to Dryden (with possible assistance by Lord Mulgrave [John Sheffield]).

  274. Brandi on June 3rd, 2013 at 8:38 am
  275. The quote by Francis Bacon which begins “They become secretly discontent, and look upon men and matters with an evil eye…” is from Essay 36 (“Of Ambition”), not Essay 37 (“Of Masques and Triumphs”).

  276. Brandi on June 3rd, 2013 at 8:57 am
  277. The quote from Pope’s Dunciad under definition 65 is from Book IV, not III.

  278. Brandi on June 3rd, 2013 at 9:02 am
  279. The quote by Francis Bacon under definition 66 (“Kings ought not to suffer…”) is from Essay 20 (“Of Counsel”), not 21 (“Of Delays”).

  280. Brandi on June 3rd, 2013 at 9:04 am
  281. This game involves hiding a small object in one hand (usually with both hands behind one’s back), presenting both closed fists to the player, and having the player guess in which fist the hidden object lies. A player who correctly guesses which hand holds the object typically gets to keep the object.

  282. Brandi on June 10th, 2013 at 8:50 am
  283. The quote beginning “You are strait enough in the shoulders, you care not who sees your back…” comes from Henry IV, Pt. 1 and not from one of the Henry VI plays.

  284. Brandi on June 13th, 2013 at 11:19 am
  285. Oh, my goodness, this is absolutely delightful! I have enjoyed reading this. This will be most useful in my 18th Century novel “Fruit of Forbidden Love”. I had constantly wondered the words used during those days…and this helps tremendously! …And it’s preserved digitally as well. Huzzah! I immensely thank you.

  286. Lorene Holderfield on June 18th, 2013 at 1:33 am
  287. The quote by Addison comes from Spectator, No. 403, not from No. 48.

  288. Brandi on June 22nd, 2013 at 8:57 am
  289. Paul Baker points out that this entry indicates that Johnson used the 1740 edition of Bacon’s works. The 1740 edition seems to be the only one that includes Essay #14 (“Of a King”), which causes all subsequent essays to be numbered 1 higher.

    The quote above is from “Of the True Greatness of Kingdoms and Estates,” which was normally #29, but in the 1740 edition, due to the extra essay, was #30.

  290. Brandi on June 22nd, 2013 at 9:03 am
  291. “A buffoon is called by every nation…” is taken from Addison’s Spectator (No. 47), not from his Guardian.

    The full quotation:
    “In the first Place I must observe, that there is a Set of merry Drolls, whom the common People of all Countries admire, and seem to love so well, that they could eat them, according to the old Proverb: I mean those circumforaneous Wits whom every Nation calls by the Name of that Dish of Meat which it loves best. In Holland they are termed Pickled Herrings; in France, Jean Pottages; in Italy, Maccaronies; and in Great Britain, Jack Puddings.

  292. Brandi on June 22nd, 2013 at 9:14 am
  293. The etymology for this word is missing in all three scans of the dictionary I have.

  294. Brandi on June 24th, 2013 at 7:35 pm
  295. Thank you so much for doing this – a most helpful resource!

  296. Denise Porter on June 30th, 2013 at 4:21 pm
  297. The quote is actually from Spectator403, not № 404.

  298. Brandi on July 15th, 2013 at 12:08 pm
  299. The quote from the Book of Common Prayer can also be found in Psalm xxxiv. 10.

    The quote from Genesis is from book xviii, not viii.

  300. Brandi on July 15th, 2013 at 12:13 pm
  301. The Shakespeare quote under definition 14 (“You were advis’d his flesh was capable…”) comes from Henry IV Part 2, not Part 1.

  302. Brandi on August 3rd, 2013 at 8:18 am
  303. The “ahazle” is supposed to be “a hazle” (and it is in later editions) – it likely appears as a single word here due to typesetting constraints.

  304. Brandi on August 3rd, 2013 at 8:53 am
  305. The quote attributed to Julius Cæsar is actually from Antony and Cleopatra.

  306. Brandi on August 10th, 2013 at 10:19 am
  307. The last quotation (“I see the warlike host of heaven…”) is not from Milton, but from Nicholas Rowe‘s The Royal Convert.

  308. Brandi on August 21st, 2013 at 9:01 pm
  309. Thank you for this enlightening entry. I have only just searched for Dr.Johnson’s great work.

    Couldn’t find “dyscombobulation”. Was this an omission?

  310. Steven Parker on September 11th, 2013 at 10:36 am
  311. Discombobulation is too new of a word (and too American) to appear in Johnson. The earliest reference to it in the Oxford English Dictionary is 1839.

  312. Brandi on September 11th, 2013 at 12:10 pm
  313. First time here…and I Love it!

  314. Seun on September 12th, 2013 at 6:26 pm
  315. Every September 19th since 2002, folks who cross paths with me in the course of the day greet me with “Arrgh!”

    I always reply with, “The word is YARR! Quit droppin’ yer Y’s!”

  316. Broadside Johnnie on September 18th, 2013 at 7:26 pm
  317. We wish ye a merry Talk Like a Pirate Day, Broadside Johnnie. Fair winds!

  318. Brandi on September 18th, 2013 at 8:00 pm
  319. The quote attributed to Dryden actually comes from a translation of Juvenal’s eighth satire done by George Stepney. Dryden did some of the other translations in that edition of Juvenal (1693).

  320. Brandi on October 29th, 2013 at 8:42 pm
  321. Mention is made of Edmund Stone’s New Mathematical Dictionary, but not which edition (1726 or 1743). Are there any scholarly articles or books on Johnson’s use of Stone?

  322. John Valdimir Price on November 11th, 2013 at 10:17 am
  323. The last quote comes from Malachi i. 13., not ii. 13.

  324. Brandi on December 5th, 2013 at 7:18 am
  325. I’d love to transcribe, though I’d rather transcribe text only and leave the tags alone. If you’d like for me to also add tags, I’m sure I can manage. Please let me know!

  326. Eugene on December 11th, 2013 at 9:15 pm
  327. I have been using ABBYY FineReader 10 which is the older version of their current version 11. It has a “training” mode that permits interactive adjustments of the scanned character and interpretation of that letter. It even supports new ligatures so it is very versatile. Their website is: http://www.abbyy.com/

    I use the PRO version so I would seek that as it seems to be more powerful. You might contact them to get advice on using their product for this special project. It could open up OCR for all kind of old works.

  328. Gary on December 28th, 2013 at 10:52 pm
  329. Thank you, For your hard work to bring this dictionary to the masses. In my research I can now feel comfortable in understanding the meaning of words from this time period.

  330. Jesse Lancaster on January 3rd, 2014 at 7:59 am
  331. The section on Dictionary Entries on the How To Use page discusses the Sources box. It does not, however, discuss what “attributes” means in this context although, in many entries (e.g., joke (noun) and joke (verb)), the Sources box has a line for attributes. Would you please add a contextually relevant definition or description of “attributes”? Thank you.

  332. Warren Friedman on January 4th, 2014 at 11:57 pm
  333. The entry accorporate does not exist.

  334. Brandi on January 5th, 2014 at 1:21 pm
  335. I’d love to help out, I refer to this website on a weekly basis.

  336. Daud on January 5th, 2014 at 3:39 pm
  337. abnormal=not normal
    aborigines= non of real origine<= not autohton to the land

  338. Re: Trinity on January 6th, 2014 at 12:36 am
  339. I am teaching a graduate seminar this spring on the History of the English Language with 15 students. Could the 16 of us be transcribers? Thank you for all of your hard work on this terrific project!

  340. Mary Lynne Hill, Ph.D. on January 6th, 2014 at 2:18 pm
  341. ahead

  342. Anonymous on January 6th, 2014 at 10:30 pm
  343. Thank you for now describing on the How To Use page what a word’s attributes on its definition page are, and for noting that providing attributes is currently “a work in progress,” along with your goals for that effort.

  344. Warren Friedman on January 7th, 2014 at 12:50 am
  345. “Men, speaking language according to the grammar rules of that language, do yet speak improperly of things. Locke”

    So, who’s right, John Locke or the Chicago Manual of Style? My view is that the “Academy qua ‘Industry’,” is a serious inhibition to American intellectual achievement. Not, all the time, but frequently. Just a thought. Respectfully yours, Bone-head

    “Varium et muabile semper femina” – is still cute in some circles, but a career buster in a whole lotta companies…

  346. dave langdon on January 23rd, 2014 at 6:32 am
  347. There is no noun for “elate” in Johnson’s dictionary, so the above links to the adjective.

  348. Brandi on January 24th, 2014 at 8:14 am
  349. For more on medieval music and what B mi really means, check out the Wikipedia article on the Guidonian Hand.

  350. Brandi on January 25th, 2014 at 10:02 pm
  351. The first quote, though attributed to Shakespeare, is by Sir Walter Raleigh. It can be found in Johnson’s notes to Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 3, Scene 1:

    By shallow rivers, &c.] This is part of a beautiful little poem of the author’s, which poem, and the answer to it, the reader will not be displeased to find here.

    The Passionate Shepherd to his Love
    Come live with me, and be my Love,
    And we will all the Pleasure prove,
    That Hills and Vallies, Dale and Field,
    And all the craggy Mountains yield.
    There will we sit upon the Rocks,
    And see the Shepherds feed their Flocks.
    By shallow Rivers, by whose Falls
    Melodious Birds sing Madrigals:
    There will I make thee Beds of Roses,
    And then a thousand fragrant Posies;
    A Cap of Flowers, and a Kirtle
    Imbroider’d all with leaves of Myrtle;
    A Gown made of the finest Wool,
    Which from our pretty Lambs we pull;
    Fair lined Slippers for the Cold,
    With Buckles of the purest Gold;
    A Belt of Straw, and Ivie Buds,
    With Coral Clasps, and Amber Studs.
    And if these Pleasures may thee move,
    Come live with me, and be my Love.
    Thy silver Dishes for thy Meat,
    As precious as the Gods do eat,
    Shall on an ivory Table be
    Prepar’d each Day for thee and me.
    The Shepherds Swains shall dance and sing,
    For thy Delight each May Morning.
    If these Delights thy Mind may move,
    Then live with me, and be my Love.

    The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd.
    If all the World and Love were young,
    And Truth in every Shepherd’s Tongue;
    These pretty Pleasures might me move,
    To live with thee, and be thy Love.
    But Time drives Flocks from Field to Fold.
    When Rivers rage, and Rocks grow cold;
    And Philomel becometh dumb,
    And all complain of Cares to come:
    The Flowers do fade, and wanton Fields
    To wayward Winter reckoning yields.
    A honey Tongue, a Heart of Gall,
    Is Fancy’s Spring, but Sorrow’s Fall.
    Thy Gowns, thy Shoes, thy Bed of Roses,
    Thy Cap, thy Kirtle, and thy Posies:
    Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten,
    In Folly ripe, in Reason rotten.
    Thy Belt of Straw and Ivy-Buds,
    Thy Coral Clasps, and Amber Studs,
    All these in me no means can move,
    To come to thee, and be thy Love.
    What should we talk of Dainties then,
    Of better Meat than’s fit for Men?
    These are but vain: that’s only good
    Which God hath blest, and sent for Food.
    But could Youth last, and Love still breed,
    Had Joys no date, and Age no need;
    Then these Delights my Mind might move,
    To live with thee, and be thy Love.

    These two poems, which Dr. Warburton gives to Shakespeare, are, by writers nearer that time, disposed of, one to Marlowe, the other to Raleigh. These Poems are read in different Copies with great Variations.

  352. Brandi on February 1st, 2014 at 3:24 pm
  353. Dr. Sharon Harrow, one of my Lit. professors in college, mentioned in a lecture to us years ago that the earliest definition of “Anthology” was “a collection of flowers.” I loved that piece of trivia, and although the meaning has changed with the passage of time I think that that first definition is just beautiful. Thank you for making Sam Johnson’s dictionary available to everyone!

  354. E. C. Koch on February 9th, 2014 at 10:32 am
  355. I would love to help with this. I have no problem using tags.


  356. Jamey L. Cordery on February 12th, 2014 at 3:09 pm
  357. In the time of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary what would the phrase “to the people” mean?
    I’m especially interested in what exactly this phrase meant in the Constitution where it defined enumerated powers as those left to the states, or “to the people”.
    Thank You, David

  358. David Goodlin on February 13th, 2014 at 4:19 pm
  359. According to the OED, this word refers to the dandelion.

  360. Brandi on February 15th, 2014 at 3:46 pm
  361. Would love to transcribe the Dictionary. Best dictionary there is after the Oxford.

  362. Nick Matavka on March 18th, 2014 at 5:20 pm
  363. Excellent work,very helpful.

  364. Nirupama on April 2nd, 2014 at 3:37 am
  365. Apologies if you’ve addressed this elsewhere, but I’m curious about the relation between this transcription project and the Dictionary published on cd-rom by Cambridge (which also included a transcription in addition to two facsimile editions). If it’s a question of accessibility (the Cambridge production–proprietary–is now difficult or impossible to acquire), I’d be eager to help with this online one. Seems a shame though to duplicate efforts.

  366. Mark Richardson on April 7th, 2014 at 1:44 am
  367. The first quote belongs to Alexander Pope.

  368. Brandi on April 7th, 2014 at 11:15 pm
  369. Brandi, definitely send me a batch of entries to transcribe. Random is fine.


  370. Mark Richardson on April 7th, 2014 at 11:34 pm
  371. the word today has so different a meaning, i wonder there were no cabaret those days

  372. Dendapani,Dr,K,K on April 12th, 2014 at 10:27 am
  373. Johnson probably meant “from the noun,” as that is the only other form of “Garrison” included in the dictionary. The link above thus goes to the noun.

  374. Brandi on April 19th, 2014 at 11:59 am
  375. Interesting question of how to deal with Johnson’s “errors” in the dictionary. I’m all for maintaining the purity of the transcription (blunders and all). But I wonder how much labor it would take to maintain an Errata list for users to consult…

  376. Mark Richardson on April 21st, 2014 at 11:11 pm
  377. In the Raleigh quote, the original text reads “he intended to hazard his own person.”

  378. Brandi on April 27th, 2014 at 4:07 pm
  379. Dictionary error: The line in Hamlet should read “Break we our watch up…”

  380. Brandi on April 29th, 2014 at 9:23 am
  381. Is pdf version avaliable? I really want one for off-line use.

  382. seashell on April 30th, 2014 at 3:49 am
  383. Not currently. Offline versions will be considered after the entire dictionary has been transcribed and thoroughly proofread.

  384. Brandi on April 30th, 2014 at 11:03 pm
  385. The quote under definition 6, unlabeled in Johnson, is from Daniel’s poem The History of the Civil War.

  386. Brandi on May 1st, 2014 at 10:14 am
  387. Thank you for letting me know and look forward to your work with admiration. I’m in Asia and the internet is sometimes slow, that why I look for a offline version. Thank you and I’ll wait.

  388. seashell on May 1st, 2014 at 8:58 pm
  389. Hi I am writing a paper about Johnson’s dictionary and I and frustrated cause I can’t find anywhere what did he mean by “n.s.”??!!! I’m pretty sure that “n” is for “noun” but what is the “s”????!!!

  390. Bo Wang on May 3rd, 2014 at 10:38 pm
  391. n.s. = “noun substantive”

  392. Mark on May 4th, 2014 at 12:50 am
  393. John Trapp in his Commentary on the Bible on Esther 10:2 writes, “And the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai] Heb. The exposition. Many make large commentaries upon their own greatness, which a right exposition would show to be rather BELLUINE THAN GENUINE. Great men are not always wise, saith Elihu, #Job 32:9. But Mordecai was a great wise man, every way accomplished, one of God’s Rabbis, as Daniel calls them, fit to serve any prince in the world. “There is a spirit in man,” a rational soul in an ordinary man; but “the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding,” #Job 32:8″.

  394. Pastor A G Randalls on May 7th, 2014 at 2:39 am
  395. I would like to help with this. I think I can give the tags a go?

  396. Kitty Chevallier on May 7th, 2014 at 5:53 am
  397. In later editions, the phrase “in the canon law” is changed to “in the common law.”

  398. Brandi on May 17th, 2014 at 7:05 pm
  399. I cannot find the “Pezon” source (and, unfortunately, “Pezon” is Spanish for “nipple,” so internet searches are not very helpful.) Anyone else have luck?

  400. Brandi on May 18th, 2014 at 4:26 pm
  401. Why no closing bracket at the end of the etymology section? (Distracted by Pezon?)

  402. Mark Richardson on May 18th, 2014 at 9:37 pm
  403. It was left out in this entry (see scan) – likely a typesetter’s error.

  404. Brandi on May 18th, 2014 at 9:38 pm
  405. Looks like Pezon was the most obscure of Johnson’s etymological sources. Not listed among places he customarily resorted to, not glossed by either Crystal or Lynch in their abridgements, not mentioned in any other place in the dictionary (I even cranked up my Cambridge CD but the search produced only that one hit). Google has nothing relevant. Am I missing something completely obvious? Was Johnson just showing off? Is Pezon a completely forgotten datum of the 18th century? The spooky thing is that it seems that somewhere–in Pope or Swift or Fielding–I’ve seen that word before…

  406. Mark Richardson on May 18th, 2014 at 11:43 pm
  407. noli me tangere is Latin for “Do not touch me” (perhaps most famously used in John 20:17).

  408. Brandi on May 21st, 2014 at 10:18 am
  409. The theater Addison is writing about is the Teatro Farne in Parma.

  410. Brandi on May 21st, 2014 at 1:56 pm
  411. The quote from Dryden includes a typesetter error (“Greks” vs. “Greeks”) not present in all copies of the 1st edition (it is correct in the Page View copy, for instance). For more on this type of error, see FAQ #1.

  412. Brandi on May 21st, 2014 at 2:59 pm
  413. Johnson spells the headword with one “f” even though the word is spelled with two everywhere else.

  414. Brandi on May 25th, 2014 at 3:39 pm
  415. The Measure for Measure quote should read “her brother was wrecked.”

  416. Brandi on May 25th, 2014 at 3:40 pm
  417. The line attributed to the Spectator under definition 3 is from the poem “To the Supposed Author of the Spectator” by Thomas Tickell.

  418. Brandi on September 1st, 2014 at 8:55 am
  419. The lines attributed to Sandys are actually from a poem by Lucius Cary (Lord Falkland) dedicated to George Sandys.

  420. Brandi on September 7th, 2014 at 9:02 pm
  421. I’d love to transcribe, adding tags and all, and I understand that you’re in the process of “streamlining” the process (which in my book means your changing everything, woe to those who’ve gone before!!!) and I think it would be best if I waited until the NEW was all there were. (Were all there was? Hate subjunctives in English….)

  422. OneBirdieMa on November 23rd, 2014 at 6:29 pm
  423. PS Brandi, this is one heck of a hobby!!!!!

  424. OneBirdieMa on November 23rd, 2014 at 6:30 pm
  425. Would you have the definition of “Infanticide” ? Did Johnson write it? Could you please transcribe it? Thank you.

  426. vicjunq92 on June 29th, 2015 at 4:15 pm
  427. vicjunq92: Johnson did indeed define “Infanticide.” It hasn’t been transcribed yet but the scan of the page it’s on is very legible. Just scroll to the top of this page, click on Page View. That will bring up a page with two drop-down menus at the top. You can find the word easily by selecting its location with those menus. For more information, look at post #10 right here on the page we’re on. The process is described there.

  428. malan1 on June 30th, 2015 at 12:20 am
  429. Is there an address to which I could send a letter regarding the definition of Harris Tweed? Many thanks. Kristina

  430. Kristina HTA on July 28th, 2015 at 5:21 am
  431. Kristina: If you have questions or comments about a definition, you can state them here. Or you can open a discussion about the definition under one of the forum headings. If you’re asking where the definition is in Johnson’s Dictionary, or whether it exists there, I’m afraid “Harris Tweed” came into the language much later than Johnson’s time (the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary dates it as late 19th century).

  432. malan1 on July 29th, 2015 at 2:38 am

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