Webster, Noah (Oct. 16, 1748 - May 28, 1843) American lexicographer and philologist, born in West Hartford, Conn. A Yale graduate.
His Elementary Spelling Book (the first part of the Grammatical Institute of the English Language) and The American Dictionary of the English Language established the nobility and vitality of the American Language.
He holds that the spelling and grammar of a language must be based on actual usage rather than artificial principles. And thus laid a foundation for the 20th century lexicography.
The Elementary Spelling Book, first published in the late years of the 18th cent., standardized American spelling and by 1850, when the whole population was under 23 million, was sold at 1 million copies annually.
The American Dictionary of the English Language, his greatest work, was published in 1828. Of the 70,000 words, 12,000 had not appeared in any other dictionaries before. Within one year, all the 2,500 copies issued in American and the 3,000 copies in Britain were sold out.
In 1840, the second edition was a failure and he had to sell the copy right to Merriam Publishing Company which thereafter became the Merriam-Webster Incorporation. Webster's other contributions include efforts in the passage of a national copyright law, in the founding of the Amherst College etc.
Dictionary: a published list, in alphabetical order, of the words of a language, explaining and defining them, or in the case of a bilingual dictionary, translating them into another language.
In the 20th cent., American dictionary makers began to adopt criteria of use rather than of etymological purity. Dictionaries were produced in China, Greece, Islam, and other complex early cultures.
The first modern examples of lexicography are thought to be Nathan Bailey's Universal Etymological English Dictionary (1721) and his larger Dictionarium Britannicum (1730), which served Samuel Johnson,
who was considered as England's first complete man of letters, in preparing his Dictionary of the English Language (1755), the first comprehensive English lexicography. wwW.tiNGlikU.Com
The next great lexicographer was Noah Webster. His American Dictionary of the English Language has been skilfully revised and abridged over the years, thereby retaining its popularity. A six-volume American encyclopaedic dictionary, The Century Dictionary, was completed in 1891.
American Dictionary of the English Language ---1828
1840, second edition, failure, copyright sold to Merriam
1961, third edition, 2752 pages, 460,000 entries, 200,000 usage examples, 3,000 pictorial illustrations and more than 1,000 synonyms