Webster Online Dictionary
No other dictionary matches M-W's accuracy and scholarship in defining word meanings. Our pronunciation help, synonyms, usage and grammar tips set the standard. Go beyond dictionary lookups with Word of the Day, facts and observations on language, lookup trends, and wordplay from the editors at Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
Webster Online Dictionary
\n\n\nWelcome to ask the editor, I'm Peter Sokolowski, Editor at Large at Merriam-Webster.\n\n\n\nJust as the English language changes, so does the dictionary, from edition to edition. Noah Webster's 1828 American dictionary of the English Language helped establish American English spelling and set a high standard for clear and concise definitions.\n\n\n\nBut at $20, a lot of money back then, it was a luxury item.\n\n\n\nAfter Webster died the Merriam brothers, George and Charles, who were printers and booksellers, took over the production of new editions. They were good businessmen. Their first edition cost only $6.\n\n\n\nBy 1864, the number of entries in what was by then called The Unabridged Dictionary, had more than doubled to 180,000. This edition also presented the very best research up to that time in word histories called etymologies, and it was the first to have illustrations throughout. Everything about this book set the modern standard for a scholarly and comprehensive dictionary. Including the fact that it was made by a large team of editors just as we work today.\n\n\n\nOver time the dictionary kept getting bigger and bigger. In 1890, it got a new name, the International. The 1934 edition called Webster's Second New International had 600,000 entries and is the largest single volume dictionary in the history of the English language.\n\n\n\nWebster's Third in 1961 became famous, or infamous, for definitions written in single phrases, rather than long paragraphs, and especially, for its strict reliance on printed evidence for every definition, making it very descriptive of actual usage. It was and still is a landmark of this kind of research. Research with the ultimate goal of telling the truth about how we use words.\n\n\n\nWe now use words in ways, and in places that didn't exist in 1828. Print is moving online and the dictionary has followed.\n\n\n\nOur Unabridged dictionary continues to grow online today. There are updated entries, many new words, added quotations, and usage guidance, in addition to video, audio and articles for language lovers at the redesigned Merriam-WebsterUnabridged.com.\n\n\nFor more Ask the Editor videos, visit merriam-webster.com.","fb_legacy_url":"\/video\/0049-dictionary_through_time.htm","is_editor_choice":0,"is_archived":0,"is_published":1,"published_at":"2013-05-12 01:50:00","last_published_at":"2013-05-12 01:50:00","created_at":"2013-05-12 01:50:50","updated_at":"2022-03-30 13:23:28","tldr":null,"jw_id":"q7Ny3PvW"}; Dictionary Entries Near dictionary diction
In 1828, when Noah Webster was 70, his American Dictionary of the English Language was published by S. Converse in two quarto volumes containing 70,000 entries, as against the 58,000 of any previous dictionary. There were 2,500 copies printed, at $20 (adjusted for inflation: $539.77) for the two volumes. At first the set sold poorly. When he lowered the price to $15 (adjusted for inflation: $404.82), its sales improved, and by 1836 that edition was exhausted. Not all copies were bound at the same time; the book also appeared in publisher's boards; other original bindings of a later date are not unknown.
Noah Webster's assistant, and later chief competitor, Joseph Emerson Worcester, and Webster's son-in-law Chauncey A. Goodrich, published an abridgment of Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language in 1829, with the same number of words and Webster's full definitions, but with truncated literary references and expanded etymology. Although it was more successful financially than the original 1828 edition and was reprinted many times, Noah Webster was critical of it. Worcester and Goodrich's abridgment of Noah Webster's dictionary was published in 1841 by White and Sheffield, printed by E. Sanderson in Elizabethtown, N.J. and again in 1844 by publishers Harper and Brothers of New York City, in 1844, with added words as an appendix.
In 1850, Blackie and Son in Glasgow published the first general dictionary of English that made heavy use of pictorial illustrations integrated with the text, The Imperial Dictionary, English, Technological, and Scientific, Adapted to the Present State of Literature, Science, and Art; On the Basis of Webster's English Dictionary. Editor John Ogilve used Webster's 1841 edition as a base, adding many new, specialized, and British words, increasing the vocabulary from Webster's 70,000 to more than 100,000.
In 1934, the New International Dictionary was revised and expanded for a second edition, which is popularly known as Webster's Second or W2, although it was not published under that title. It was edited by William Allan Neilson and Thomas A. Knott. It contained 3350 pages and sold for $39.50 (adjusted for inflation: $755.77). Some versions added a 400-page supplement called A Reference History of the World, which provided chronologies "from earliest times to the present". The editors claimed more than 600,000 entries, more than any other dictionary at that time, but that number included many proper names and newly added lists of undefined "combination words". Multiple definitions of words are listed in chronological order, with the oldest, and often obsolete, usages listed first. For example, the first definition of starve includes dying of exposure to the elements as well as from lack of food.
Although it was an unprecedented masterwork of scholarship, it was met with considerable criticism for its descriptive (rather than prescriptive) approach. The dictionary's treatment of "ain't" was subject to particular scorn, since it seemed to overrule the near-unanimous denunciation of that word by English teachers.
Since the 1961 publication of the Third, Merriam-Webster has reprinted the main text of the dictionary with only minor corrections. To add new words, they created an Addenda Section in 1966, included in the front matter, which was expanded in 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1993, and 2002. However, the rate of additions was much slower than it had been throughout the previous hundred years. Following the purchase of Merriam-Webster by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. in 1964, a three-volume version was issued for many years as a supplement to the encyclopedia. At the end of volume three, this edition included the Britannica World Language Dictionary, 474 pages of translations between English and French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, and Yiddish. A CD-ROM version of the complete text, with thousands of additional new words and definitions from the "addenda", was published by Merriam-Webster in 2000, and is often packaged with the print edition. The third edition was published in 2000 on Merriam-Webster's website as a subscription service.
This dictionary is preferred as a source "for general matters of spelling" by The Chicago Manual of Style, which is followed by many book publishers and magazines in the United States. The Chicago Manual states that it "normally opts for" the first spelling listed.
In addition to its Collegiate editions G. & C. Merriam Co. also produced abridged editions for students (Primary School, Elementary School, Secondary School, High School, Common School, Academic) as well as for general public (Condensed, Practical, Handy). The first edition of the abridged Primary School dictionary was prepared by Noah Webster in 1833 and later revised by William G. Webster and William A. Wheeler.
Following legal action by Merriam, successive US courts ruled by 1908 that Webster's entered the public domain when the Unabridged did, in 1889. In 1917, a US court ruled that Webster's entered the public domain in 1834 when Noah Webster's 1806 dictionary's copyright lapsed. Thus, Webster's became a genericized trademark and others were free to use the name on their own works.
Since then, use of the name Webster has been rampant. Merriam-Webster goes to great pains to remind dictionary buyers that it alone is the heir to Noah Webster. Although Merriam-Webster revisers find solid ground in Noah Webster's concept of the English language as an ever-changing tapestry, the issue is more complicated than that. Throughout the 20th century, some non-Merriam editions, such as Webster's New Universal, were closer to Webster's work than contemporary Merriam-Webster editions. Further revisions by Merriam-Webster came to have little in common with their original source, while the Universal, for example, was minimally revised and remained largely out of date.
So many dictionaries of varied size and quality have been called Webster's that the name no longer has any specific brand meaning. Despite this, many people still recognize and trust the name. Thus, Webster's continues as a powerful and lucrative marketing tool. In recent years,[when?] even established dictionaries with no direct link to Noah Webster whatsoever have adopted his name, adding to the confusion. Random House dictionaries are now called Random House Webster's, and Microsoft's Encarta World English Dictionary is now Encarta Webster's Dictionary. The dictionary now called Webster's New Universal no longer even uses the text of the original Webster's New Universal dictionary, but rather is a newly commissioned version of the Random House Dictionary.
The Webster's Online Dictionary: The Rosetta Edition is not linked to Merriam-Webster Online. It is a multilingual online dictionary created in 1999 by Philip M. Parker. This site compiles different online dictionaries and encyclopedia including the Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913), Wiktionary and Wikipedia. 041b061a72