A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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About This Project


The current website has transcribed about 9% of the 42,773 entries from Johnson's 1st folio edition (1755). The University of Central Florida will add all entries from this edition, plus the 43,279 entries from the 4th folio edition (1773), plus the front matter (Johnson's "History of the English Language" and "Grammar of the English Tongue"), plus explanatory materials, to make this resource even more accessible to students and the general public.​

For more information, contact Dr. Beth Young (byoung@ucf.edu)

 

Introduction · Recommended Reading

Introduction

Dictionaries and reference works have long been a passion of mine. I had encountered references to Samuel Johnson's seminal dictionary, first published in 1755, quite often, and, after reading entries like Lexicographer and Grubstreet, I naturally wanted to read more, but I became frustrated when I realized that there was not an easily (or freely) accessible and complete version of the dictionary available in print or online.

This project, begun on the 17. November 2010, will attempt to create a digital and easily searchable version of the first edition of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language. It will hopefully provide an interesting and useful resource to all those interested in 16th-18th century English literature (Spenser, Shakespeare, Locke, etc.), lexicographiles, lovers of quotations, visitors who land here by chance, etc. For this project, I am following the 2 volume first edition (published in 1755), specifically these three copies (the first two are available via library subscription; the third is a facsimile):

  • Microfilm Scan from the British Library: Johnson, Samuel. A dictionary of the English language; in which the words are deduced from their originals and illustrated in their different significations by examples from the best writers. To which are prefixed, a history of the language, and an English grammar. By Samuel Johnson, A. M. In two volumes. London, MDCCLV. [1755]. Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Gale. Gale Document #CB128752482. Access provided by Washington University in St. Louis.
  • Microfilm Scan from Kress Library of Business and Economics, Harvard University: Johnson, Samuel. A dictionary of the English language: in which the words are deduced from their originals, and illustrated in their different significations by examples from the best writers. To which are prefixed, a history of the language, and an English grammar. London, 1755. 2 vols. The Making of the Modern World. Gale 2011. Gale, Cengage Learning. Gale Document #U109812327. Access provided by Washington University.
  • Facsimile: Johnson, Samuel. A dictionary of the English language: in which the words are deduced from their originals and illustrated in their different significations by examples from the best writers. To which are prefixed, a history of the language, and an English grammar. By Samuel Johnson, A. M. In two volumes. London, MDCCLV. [1755] AMS Press, INC. New York, 1967.

This is a hobby for me, so it will progress slowly, but I look forward to getting to read the entirety of Johnson's amazing dictionary.

Notice a mistake? Find an entry particularly amusing? Have an interesting quote to accompany a particular word? Please feel free to offer comments, suggestions, edits, or random thoughts and feelings in the discussion forum.

- Brandi


Recommended Reading

  • DeMaria, Jr, Robert. Johnson's Dictionary and the Language of Learning. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1986.
  • Hitchings, Henry. Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson's Dictionary. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.
  • Kolb, Gwin J. and Robert DeMaria (Editors). Johnson on the English Language. The Works of Samuel Johnson, Vol. 18. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.
  • Lynch, Jack. Samuel Johnson's Dictionary: Selections from the 1755 Work That Defined the English Language. London: Atlantic Books, 2004.
  • Lynch, Jack. The Lexicographer's Dilemma: The Evolution of "Proper" English from Shakespeare to South Park. New York: Walker & Company, 2009.
  • Martin, Peter. Samuel Johnson: A Biography. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2008.
  • Morton, Tom. Dr Johnson's Dictionary of Modern Life. Survey, Definition & justify'd Lampoonery of divers contemporary Phenomena, from Top Gear unto Twitter. London: Square Peg (Random House), 2010. See @DrSamuelJohnson.

Cite this page: "About This Project." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: April 12, 2019. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/about-this-project/.



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