The Oxford English Dictionary PDF

The Oxford English Dictionary Book PDF Free Download

The Oxford English Dictionary

If there is any truth in the old Greek maxim that a large book is a great evil, English dictionaries have been steadily growing worse ever since their inception more than three centuries ago.

To set Cawdrey’s a ‘s alim small volume of 1604 beside the completed Oxford Dictionary of 1933 is like placing the original acom beside the oak that has grown out.

The immensity of this growth is explained by the successive introduction of three new principles in lexicography.

The earlier dictionary makers followed in the line of the old glossaries and directed their attention to such words as were likely to be unfamiliar to the ordinary man.

The widening of this arrow range during the seventeenth century is made obvious by the steady increase in size through Ballokar, Cockeram, Blount, and Phillips until the eighteenth.

The principle of general inclusion was practically accepted by Kersey and Bailey.

The next stage is marked by Johnson’s systematic use of quotations to illustrate and justify the definitions, the many omissions still existing in the vocabulary being partly filled by later supplementary works on the same lines.

When all this was superadded the principle of historical illustration, introduced by Richardson, it became inevitable that any adequate dictionary of English must be one of the larger books of the world.

It is remarkable that Richardson’s dictionary, perhaps through certain defects in his method, did not at once attract the attention it deserved.

From the appearance of the first installment in the Encyclopedia Metropolitana in 18rg to the full acceptance of the historical principle by the Philological Society almost forty years had passed.

And the separate publication of his dictionary in 1836-7 did not affect to any appreciable extent the work of those lexicographers who followed in the wake of Johnson or Webster.

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