Word of the Day Archive
Friday February 25, 2011
1. The writing or compiling of dictionaries; the editing or making of dictionaries.
2. The principles and practices applied to writing dictionaries.
Dictionary of American Regional English, Volume I heroically preserves our rapidly disappearing folk expressions, and many of the rich, salty words and phrases found in its 904 pages could encourage a taste for lexicography.
-- Shirley Horner, review of "Dictionary of American Regional English", New York Times, December 8, 1985
Jim is a dictionary writer by trade, one of those sedentary wordsmiths who spend their lives in the library and retire with watery eyes and schoolteacher salaries--except he found a way to abandon lexicography and make a windfall fortune in the Internet economy.
-- Christopher McDougall, "The Secret of Vuleefore", Outside magazine, September 2000
The final arrangement of "set," achieved under the by then septuagenarian Murray, is perhaps lexicography's Eroica Symphony.
-- Hugh Kenner, "Ode on an OED" review of The Oxford English Dictionary, The Oxford English Dictionary,New York Times, April 16, 1989
I am not so lost in lexicography as to forget that words are the daughters of earth, and that things are the sons of heaven.
-- Samuel Johnson, preface to his Dictionary of the English Language
Lexicography is derived from the Greek lexicon (biblion), a word- or phrase-book (from lexis, a phrase, a word) + graphein, to write. A lexicographer (thought to be formed on the pattern of geographer) is a compiler or writer of a dictionary -- as defined by Samuel Johnson in his own Dictionary of the English Language, "a writer of dictionaries, a harmless drudge."