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Manuscript Studies
Medieval and Early Modern

Bibliography: Dictionaries (historical)


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An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary. Ed. Joseph Bosworth. Rev. T. Northcote Toller. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1898. [Popularly known as "Bosworth and Toller." Also with a Supplement, ed. T. Northcote Toller (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1921); also an Enlarged Addenda and Corrigenda to the Supplement, by Alistair Campbell (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972).] [* Subject heading: dictionaries (historical) *]

A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary. Ed. John R. Clark-Hall. 4th ed. Rev. Herbert D. Meritt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960. [This is intended as an affordable, student's dictionary, and, as such, it has recently been reissued in paperback by the Medieval Academy of America and the University of Toronto Press. A useful feature is cross-referencing to OED entries. And this does include a considerable number of twelfth-century words not included in Bosworth and Toller (whose cut-off date was 1100). The entries, however, tend to be cryptic because, in order to keep the number of pages (and the price) down, a very large number of symbols and abbreviations are used.] [* Subject heading: dictionaries (historical) *]

A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, Colloquialisms and Catch Phrases, Fossilised Jokes and Puns, General Nicknames, Vulgarisms and Such Americanisms as Have Been Naturalised. Ed. Eric Partridge. 2 vols. 8th ed. Rev. Paul Beale. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984. [* Subject heading: dictionaries (historical) *]

Dictionary of Old English (on microfiche). Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, for the Dictionary of Old English Project, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, 1986-. [Six fascicules to date, covering the letters "A" to "E," but this not-quite-yet-existent dictionary does need to be mentioned both as a hope for the future and as an illustration of the significant linguistic work going on at the University of Toronto. A number of publications have come out of the project, not least a microfiche concordance of all the texts extant in Old English (listed under "Microforms," below), but it may be a few years yet before the Dictionary itself is in a usable form.] [* Subject heading: dictionaries (historical) *]

A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue from the Twelfth Century to the End of the Seventeenth. Ed. Sir William A. Craigie, et al. 7 vols. to date. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; London: Oxford University Press, 1937-. [In progress; currently complete through words beginning "Roz."] [* Subject heading: dictionaries (historical) *]

A Dictionary of the Underworld, British and American, Being the Vocabularies of Crooks, Criminals, Racketeers, Beggars and Tramps, Convicts, the Commercial Underworld, the Drug Traffic, the White Slave Traffic, Spivs. Ed. Eric Partridge. 3rd ed. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1968. [* Subject heading: dictionaries (historical) *]

The English Dialect Dictionary, Being the Complete Vocabulary of All Dialect Words Still in Use or Known to Have Been in Use During the Last Two Hundred Years; Founded on the Publications of the English Dialect Society and on a Large Amount of Material Never Before Printed. Ed. Joseph Wright. 6 vols. London: H. Frowde, 1898-1905. [Wright attempted to cover both written and spoken dialectal terms, and to include all such terms "still in use, or known to have been in use during the last two hundred years." The entries include notes on the geographical areas in which the term is used, on local peculiarities of meaning, and on etymologies. The Preface also claims that, since dialect forms are often derived from medieval dialect forms, "when the Dictionary is completed it will be of immense value in helping to settle the dialect in which many of our Middle-English manuscripts were written."] [* Subject heading: dictionaries (historical) *]

English-Old English, Old English-English Dictionary. Ed. Gregory K. Jember, et al. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1975. [This is mostly a curiosity--its vocabulary is strictly limited, and half of its already limited space is taken up with an aid to translating INTO Old English, which is not something done much nowadays--but it might be of use to beginning students of Old English.] [* Subject heading: dictionaries (historical) *]

An Essex Dialect Dictionary. Ed. Edward Gepp. 2nd ed. Rev. John S. Appleby. London: G. Routledge, 1923. [* Subject heading: dictionaries (historical) *]

Glossary of Northamptonshire Words and Phrases, with Examples of their Colloquial Use and Illustrated from Various Authors; To Which are Added, the Customs of the County. Ed. Anne Elizabeth Baker. 2 vols. London: J. R. Smith, 1854. [* Subject heading: dictionaries (historical) *]

McIntosh, Angus, et al. A Linguistic Atlas of Late Medieval English. 4 vols. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1986. [* Subject heading: linguistics; dialects; dialectology; scribes and scribal practices *]

The Middle English Dictionary. Ed. Hans Kurath and Sherman M. Kuhn. 16 vols. to date. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1956-. [In progress: currently up to the letter "T." This one does attempt to be exhaustive (for the period 1100-1450) and to give complete articles on the development of each word; one of its nice features is a system of cross-referencing under each of the "phonemically relevant" regional and chronological variants, and there are lots of illustrative quotations throughout. Unfortunately, some critics have found serious fault with many of the definitions offered in early volumes, and the MED appears to need revision even before it is completed. Still, despite some flaws, it is a useful and significant work.] [* Subject heading: dictionaries (historical) *]

A Middle English Dictionary, Containing Words Used by English Writers from the Twelfth to the Fifteenth Century. Ed. Francis Henry Stratmann. Rev. Henry Bradley. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1891. [The vocabulary included is selective, not exhaustive: this is intended to be a practical aid to the student of Middle English texts. Unfortunately, one major flaw limits the usefulness of the Dictionary even within such a limited scope: the entries are listed under the forms of the words nearest to Old English rather than to Chaucer or Langland (and almost all of the rest of the Middle English literature usually read in schools). Stratmann, then, assumes that the user is coming to Middle English with a sound knowledge of Old English (no dictionary maker nowadays would make that assumption!).] [* Subject heading: dictionaries (historical) *]

The Scottish National Dictionary, Designed Partly on Regional Lines and Partly on Historical Principles, and Containing All the Scottish Words Known to Be in Use or to Have Been in Use Since c.1700. Ed. William Grant and David D. Murison. 10 vols. Edinburgh: Scottish National Dictionary Association, 1931-1976. [Attempts to cover the Modern Scots language as Craigie and Hulbert cover the earlier history of the language.] [* Subject heading: dictionaries (historical) *]

Slang and its Analogues Past and Present: A Dictionary, Historical and Comparative, of the Heterodox Speech of All Classes of Society for More than Three Hundred Years. Ed. John Stephen Farmer and William Ernest Henley. 7 vols. London: Privately printed, 1893. [* Subject heading: dictionaries (historical) *]

The Vocabulary of East Anglia: An Attempt to Record the Vulgar Tongue of the Twin Sister Counties, Norfolk and Suffolk, as it Existed in the Last Twenty Years of the Eighteenth Century, and Still Exists, with Proof of its Antiquity from Etymology and Authority. Ed. Robert Forby. 2 vols. London: J. B. Nichols, 1830. [Rpt. Newton Abbey: David and Charles, 1970.] [Covers the dialect as known in the late 18th century.] [* Subject heading: dictionaries (historical) *]



Bibliography: [ Some basic resources ] | [ General bibliography ] | [ History of the book ] | [ Literacy and education, medieval and early modern (readers and reading) ] | [ Archival research ] | [ Forgeries / bibliographic fraud ] | [ Dictionaries (historical) ] | [ Early printed books and incunabula: production ] | [ Early printed books and incunabula: catalogues ] | [ Early printed books and incunabula: facsimiles ] | [ Diplomatics: the study of historical documents ] | [ Printing, history of ] | [ Publishing, history of ] | [ Libraries and repositories, history of; book collecting ] | [ Manuscript culture ] | [ Manuscript culture: patronage ] | [ Manuscripts: codicology ] | [ Manuscripts: paleography ] | [ Manuscript production ] | [ Manuscript production: scribes and scribal practices ] | [ Manuscript production: decoration and illustration ] | [ Manuscript production: material culture (paper, bindings, etc.) ] | [ Manuscripts: catalogues and finding aids ] | [ Manuscripts: facsimiles and facsimile editions ] | [ Sigillography (the study of seals) ] | [ Textual criticism and editing ] | [ Keyword search of entire bibliography ]


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© 1998 Stephen R. Reimer
English; University of Alberta; Edmonton, Canada
All rights reserved.
Created: 29 Oct. 1998; Last revised: 9 Jan. 2000

email: Stephen.Reimer@UAlberta.Ca
URL: http://www.ualberta.ca/~sreimer/ms-course.htm