A dictionary (from the Latin dictio, a saying, expression, word), is a book containing the words, or subjects, which it treats, arranged in alphabetical order. It may be either a vocabulary, or collection of the words in a language, with their definitions; or a special work on one or more branches of science or art prepared on the principle of alphabetical arrangement, such as dictionaries of biography, law, music, medicine, etc.
Amongst dictionaries of the English language, the earliest seem to have been those of Bullokar (1616) and Cockeram (1623). That of Dr Johnson published in 1755 made an epoch in this department of literature. Previous to this the chief English dictionary was that of Bailey, a useful work in its way. An enlarged edition of Johnson's dictionary, by the Rev. H. J. Todd, appeared in 1818; and this, again enlarged and modified, was issued under the editorship of Dr. R. G. Latham (1864-72).
The best-known American dictionary of the English language is that by Noah Webster, published in 1828, and since entirely recast. Richardson's dictionary, published in 1836-37, was valuable chiefly for its quotations. Ogilvie's Imperial English Dictionary, based on Webster, and first published in 1847-50, has been published in a remodelled and greatly enlarged form (in 4volumes 1881-82 and subsequently). It is one of the encyclopaedic dictionaries. Cassell's Encyclopaedic Dictionary was another extensive work published in 1879-88. Prior to the Oxord English Dictionary, the largest completed English dictionary was the Century Dictionary published in New York, 1889-91, in 6 volumes. The Standard Dictionary was another American work.
The Oxford English Dictionary was started under the editorship of James Murray, after agreement bty members of the Lodon Philological Societt in 1857 that existing dictionaries were incomplete and inaccurate. The first part of the 'A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles' as the Oxford Englisg Dictionary was originally called, was published by the Clarendon Press (later known as the Oxford University Press) in 1884, but it was not until 1928 that the last of ten volumes was published.
Among French dictionaries (for French people) the chief was that of Littre; among German, the dictionary begun by the brothers Grimm.
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Bty is an abbreviation for Battery
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