The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary - Chapter 5, The Big Dictionary Conceived Summary & Analysis

Simon Winchester
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Chapter 5, The Big Dictionary Conceived Summary and Analysis

Yet the great dictionary writers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are not forgotten because of the Oxford English Dictionary, which far surpassed all that came before. The OED would represent the entire English language - every word, nuance, shading of meaning, etc. They called it the "big dictionary." The OED took seventy years to compile—its making began in the London Library on Guy Fawkes Day, 1857.

In the speech, Trench identified various ways in which present dictionaries were lacking in "On Some Deficiencies in Our English Dictionaries." He argued that dictionaries should be histories of the life span of every word and thought these lives should be charted. The idea was revolutionary and no one man could do it; hundreds of unpaid amateurs were needed and the audience was shocked. The...

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This section contains 453 words
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Buy The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary Study Guide
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