Wednesday, 17 April 2013

US dictionary history

A recent  newsletter from Readex has an interesting article  titled "War of the Dictionaries" about the history of the Merriam-Webster dictionary which has been published since 1847.  Apparently Naoh Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language was not well-received, and after he died the Merriam brothers,
a pair of entrepreneurial printers, purchased all remaining copies and the rights to the dictionary. They revised Webster's work, aiming at standardizing US spelling, pronunciation, and definition.  A rival from Cambirdge Ma. published a rival dictionary that preserved British language habits. The rivalry continued for more than a decade before the Merriam-Webster version became the dictionary of choice.  

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