Dictionary And Definitions
words dictionaries language word languages arranged complete meaning called belonging
DICTIONARY AND DEFINITIONS although dictionaries are so numerous, so well known, and so much used, they vary so greatly in the nature and treatment of their subjects that any definition must be very much modified in order to include some works so entitled and usually so called. In its proper and most usual meaning, a dictionary is a book containing a collection of the words of a language, dialect, or subject, arranged alphabetically or in some other definite order, and with explanations in the same or some other language. What is essential is, that the words given should be all or most of those belonging to the subject of the dictionary, or at least be very many in number, and that they should be arranged in definite order, and accompanied with interpretations. Many other characters may rightly and advantageously belong to a dictionary, but these are the essentials. When the words are few in number, being only a small part of those belonging to the subject, or when they are given without explanation, or some only are explained, or the explanations are partial, the work is called a vocabulary. An alphabetical arrangement of the words of some book or author with references to the places where they occur is called an index. When under each word the phrases containing it are added to the references, the work is called a concordance. Sometimes, however, these names are given to true dictionaries ; thus the great Italian dictionary of the Academy of La Crusca, in six volumes folio, is called Vocabolario, and Ernesti's dictionary to Cicero is called index. When the words are arranged according to a definite system of classification under heads and subdivisions, according to their nature or their meaning, the book is usually called a classed vocabulary; but when sufficient explanations are given, it is often accepted as a dictionary, like the Ouomasticon el Julius Pollux, or the native dictionaries of Sanskrit, Manchu, and many other languages. Dictionaries were originally books of reference explaining the words of a language or of some part of it. As the names of things, as well as those of persons and places, are words, and often require explanation even more than other classes of words, they were necessarily included in dictionaries, and often to a very great extent. In time, books were devoted to them alone, and were limited to special subjects, and these have so multiplied, that dictionaries of things now rival in number and variety those of words or of languages, while they often far surpass them in bulk. There are dictionaries of biography and history, real and fictitious, general and special, relating to men of all countries, characters, and professions; dictionaries of bibliography, relating to all books, or to those of some particular kind or country; dictionaries of geography, of the whole world, of particular countries, or of small districts, of towns and of villages, of castles, monasteries, and other buildings. There are dictionaries of philosophy; of mathematics; of natural history, zoology, botany; of birds, trees, plants, and flowers ; of chemistry, geology, and mineralogy ; of architecture, painting, and music; of medicine, surgery, anatomy, pathology, and physiology; of diplomacy ; of law, canon, civil, statutory, and criminal ; of political and social sciences ; of agriculture, rural economy, and gardening; of commerce, navigation, horsemanship, and the military art ; of mechanics, machines, and the manual arts. There are dictionaries of antiquities, of chronology, of dates, of genealogy, of heraldry, of diplomatics, of abbreviations, of useful receipts, of monograms, of adulterations, and of very many other subjects. And lastly, there are dictionaries of the arts and sciences, and their comprehensive offspring, oncyclopccdias, which include in themselves every branch of knowledge. The tendency of dictionaries of language is to increase the vocabulary, to multiply articles ; the tendencies of dictionaries of things, and especially of encyclopaedias, is to diminish the number of articles, fusing subjects together as far as possible, and to develop the explanation, making it longer and more copious and circumstantial. This does away with the necessity of turning to many articles scattered through all parts of the work for a complete view of a subject. On the other hand, as requiring an index, it is less convenient for frequent reference on minor points.
Dictionarium is a word of low or modern Latinity ;I dictio, from which it was formed, was used in mediaeval Latin to mean a word. Lexicon is a corresponding word of Greek origin, meaning a book of or for •vords - a dictionary. A glossary is properly a collection of unusual or foreign words requiring explanation. It is the name frequently given to English dictionaries of dialects, which the Germans usually call idioticon, and the Italians vocabolario. Worterbuch, a book of words, was first used among the Germans according to Grimm, by Kramer (1719), imitated from the Dutch •oordenboek. From the Germans the Swedes and Danes adopted ordbok, ordbog. The Icelandic ordabok, like the German, contains the genitive plural. The Slavonic nations use slovar, slovnik, and the Southern Slays ryetshnik, from slovo, ryetsh, a word, formed, like dictionary and lexicon, without composition. Many other names have been given to dictionaries, as thesaurus, Spmchschatz, cornucopia, gazophylacium, comprehensorium, catholicon, to indicate their completeness ; manipulus predicantium, promptorium puerorum, liber memorialis, bortus vocabulorum, ionia (a violet bed), alveary (a beehive), kamoos (the sea), haft kulzum (the seven seas), tsze tien (a standard of character), onomasticon, nomenclator, bibliotheca, elucidario, Mundart, Sammlung, clavis, scala, pharetra,2 La Crusca from the great Italian dictionary, and Calepina (in Spanish and Italian) from the Latin dictionary of Calepinus.
A dictionary of language should contain all the words which may be reasonably looked for in it, so arranged as to be readily and surely found, and so explained as to make their meaning, and if possible their use, clear to those who have a competent knowledge of the language or languages in which the explanations are given. Some dictionaries may suppose a very considerable degree of knowledge in those who use them, but though one could not be written which would make every word clear to a young child, they should in general be as easy and simple as possible. A full and complete dictionary of a great literary language can be compiled only by great labour, patience, knowledge, and skill, employed for many years in collecting, correcting, adjusting, and completing the labours of many previous generations of workers. Such a dictionary should include all the words of the language. As a great library cannot select books and publications, but must collect and preserve all without regard to their apparent value or worthlessness, for it is impossible to foretell what may be valued in future times, or what may be required by its readers for completing their researches, so a complete and standard dictionary should make no choice. Words obsolete and newly coined, barbarous, vulgar, and affected, temporary, provincial, and local, belonging to peculiar classes, professions, pursuits, and trades, should all find their place, - the only question being as to the evidence for their existence, - not indeed, all received with equal honour and regard, but with their characteristics and defects duly noted and pointed out. A complete dictionary should be the complete record and picture, or, as Archbishop Trench says, the inventory of language. It must contain all words ever in any way belonging to it, in writing or in speech, or it will not be a complete record, and will not satisfy those who consult it. Lexicographers have too often tried to exercise a choice, and not content with being recorders, have made themselves judges of words, and refiners and improvers of language, and have attempted not only to reform the language, but to check it in that growth and development which is inherent in all living tongues, and to make their dictionaries standards and rules of language, rather than inventories and records. Unfortunately, this error is echoed by popular opinion; and a standard dictionary is too often supposed to be an arbitrator of words, rather than a standard of excellence among dictionaries. The intention of the author should he, as Bescherelle says, not to reform the language, but to present it with all its caprices, anomalies, irregularities, beauties, defects, - in word, as the nation has made it. The precise value or worthlessness of a word can only be marked when it is admitted. If not found in the dictionary, it may be supposed to have been unknown to the author, as there is nothing to show that it has been condemned and rejected. The French Academy at first rejected all technical terms, but was compelled by popular clamour and the success of Fureti6re's dictionary, in which very many were given, to admit them in increasing numbers in its seoond and all subsequent editions. It is the more necessary that they should not be excluded, as the meanings are difficult to learn, and are most often looked for; and a dictionary intended for general use, should, as Dr Johnson says, include the words belonging to every profession. Obsolete words are admitted by Johnson, Littrd, and other first-rate lexicographers, only when they have remained in use after a certain period. Richardson gives Only those useful for etymology, which_ is Littre's rule for patois. Grimm admits all words at any time belonging to High German or its dialects. The great German dictionaries generally admit dialects, and in this respect are more complete than the French and English. The Chinese give in their standard dictionaries every character known to exist, though many are erroneous, corrupt, vulgar, or local, or are merely improvements proposed by some eminent person. Of te ancient characters, sometimes the pro-nunciation, and occasionally the meaning, are unknown, while both one and the other are in some cases completely lost. Johnson omits all words relating to proper names, but they, as well as proper names, often as really belong to a language a.s any other words. The Philological Society propose that their new dictionary of English, begun in 1856, shall contain " every word occurring in the literature of the language," and " admit as authorities all English books," unwisely excepting " such as are devoted to purely scientific subjects, as treatises on electricity, mathe-matics," &c., beginning " with that definite appearance of an English type of language distinct from the preceding semi-Saxon," about the year 1250. Their vocabulary of words beginning with the letter B, printed in.1863, con-tains 17,729. The practice of universal adinission of words is becoming more generally adopted in standard dictionaries of all languages.
Words can be most surely and quickly found when arranged alphabetically in a single series. Other arrange-ments, though sometimes. more useful, are not so generally convenient. When it is thought desirable to separate any class of words, they should still be also inserted in their proper places in the general alphabet. In a, large dic-tionary a small separate additional alphabet is almost lost, and is usually overlooked by searchers. According to Grimm, the alphabetical arrangement not only facilitates reference, but makes the author's work quicker and surer ; " for he who would insert rich contributions must have the places for them before his eyes, and not have to search about undecidedly to find whether the word is already there or not." The order of the alphabet should be that commonly used in the language. Any other makes re-ference more slow and uncertain. Grimm says that the order of the Sanskrit alphabet, adopted by Diefenbach and others, brings confusion rather than light to European languages. The etymological arrangement under routs has been generally condemned by experience. It places all words of the same origin together, so that they can be at once seen, which is often very useful and important, and is a great help in learning a language, as it assists the metnory: But a word not belonging to the sinall number of roots cannot be found unless its root is known ; other-wise it must be looked for in the index, or if there is none, sought for by guess-work in many places. And itS ety-mologies will vary according to fancy or knowledge, no word, as Grimm says, will be sure of its place, and no arrangement is more destructive of the object and use of a dictionary. All its advantages may be secured by giving wader each root a list of derivatives. Another system, more rarely adopted, though perhaps more useful, is that of arranging all words under their leading ideas, so that all those relating to a subject are seen together, and the proper word to express an idea may be found ahnost as easily as the idea expressed by a word may be found in an ordinary dictionary. It is, in fact, a classed vocabulary of all the words of the langnage, with the sections arranged alphabetically, and resembles in its purpose the classified iodex of a bibliographical dictionary, while it is quite as useful and necessary. Boissiere has chosen about 2000 CW11111011 words, under each of which he gives all the French words evidently attached to it by community of ideas, or by relations of habitual use, cause, paeans, effect, or any analogy whatever. This part, he says, shows how to call things by their right names, and, as he remarks, great care is taken to teach children grammar, but none to teach them. words. In the upper part of each page he gives all the words in alphabetical order, with a reference to the group in which each will be found. Roget, in his Thesaurus, gives under each head (1000 in number) not only the words belonging to the idea, but their opposites, and adds at the end of the book an index of all the words. This system, on account of its very great use and value, might well be naade a subsidiary part of a standard dictionary, the groups being placed in the general alphabet, and a, reference to each group being added to each word. The arrangement by terminations is of use grammatically and stenogra-phically, and for making out words of which the beginning is illegible or wanting. A dictionary of rhymes is similar, but not exactly the same, and is of little use except for making verses, and, when the rhymes are perfect, for showing the pronunciation. In the Semitic languages words are cointuonly placed under their roots, and in IYIS. lexicons the roots are often arranged alphabetically, accord-ing to the last radical. When Lane was making his great Arabic lexicon, he generally had before him eight or ten native lexicons, containing three different arrangements of roots. In Chinese dictionaries the characters are usually arranged under the 214 radicals, which now serve as an alphabet. In former times the number varied, and was much greater. The characters under each radical are further subdivided according to the number of strokes used in making each character, in addition to its radical, or the abbreviation of its radical which each character contains. But II0 arrangement is attempted of the charac-ters having the same number of strokes. Other systems are sometimes used, arranged by tones and endings, and by the characters (about 1040) called phonetics.
In the separate articles of a dictionary the arrangement must vary very much with the language, as well as with the word itself. When necessary, the orthography, pro-nunciation, and grammatical inflexions of the word should be given, and any variations of these at different times and places carefully pointed out, as well as the character of the word, such as obsolete, provincial, &c. ; and forms be-ginning with a different spelling should be placed in separate articles, with references to the main article. The etymology should be given, referring derivatives to their respective roots ; and under each root giving, if not the derivation as far back as it can be traced, at least what Littre calls the secondary etymology - that is, deriving it from a word not belonging to the language, as when a French word is traced to a Latin or German word with-out proceeding farther ; and cognate words should gene-rally be enumerated, often with their principal nteanings. This gives a, primary meaning, but care must be taken that the derivation is a real one, not a mere fancy or guess. The times when the word was introduced or became obsolete should be noted, and the mean-ing it bore at first, as well as those which prevailed at various periods. The meanings may be arranged in a series, not merely as they may be imagined to have been logically developed from each other, but as their connec-tion may be traced, and can be shown to have existed in actual use ; and where this connection cannot be traced, the defect should be pointed out. Sometimes, too, the meanings are, as Johnson says, collateral. In some kinds of dictionaries the explanations may be merely sufficient to identify the word, as in Bilderdijk's Voordenboek voor de Nederduitsche Spelling, or, as in most small dictionaries, they may merely give the sense. They may also be full and complete explanations of all the meanings, and again, as is necessary in a complete dictionary, may include usage. The explanations of the meanings should be precise and not vague, real definitions and not a mere reference of one word to another of the same meaning, as when the French Academy explains .fier by /mutant, altier, and &Wain by lier, orgueilleux. But when one language is dxplained by another, nothing conveys the meaning so well as a perfectly equivalent word. The interpretation of a language by itself is, as Dr Johnson says, very difficult, for there is no other word to express the idea, and simple ideas cannot be described. Therefore, in Grimm's dictionary Latin and other languages are used when necessary. Synonyms and homonyms should be given, as well as words of opposite meaning, and their similarities and differences explained. Remarks should be made on difficulties, faults to be avoided, peculiar constructions, figurative, idiomatic, and proverbial expressions, and the origin of these given when possible. All this should be done in the fewest and plainest words. Eloquence is out of place in a, dictionary; but the author must not fear fulness when it is necessary, and must not allow brevity to make him obscure. A com-plete dictionary of a copious language must neeessarily be a very large book, but much space may be saved by the use of well-selected terms and abbreviations, and by typo-graphical arrangements.
Examples form a very important part of a dictionary, but one which is generally omitted, often neglected, and seldom so carefully attended to as it deserves. 'When no quotations are given, the whole language depends on the authority of the author of the dictionary. The French Academy have always clahned the right of inaking their own examples. Voltaire says they seem to have made a law not to quote, but, he adds, a dictionary without quotations is a skeleton. Examples may be arranged either under the meanings they illustrate, which is the usual and most useful plan, or, in languages possessing an extensive literature of lung duration, chrono-logically in one series, as the Philological Society formerly proposed. Littr4 has adopted a medium, and gives examples from authors of the 17th, 18th, and 19[1a centuries under the meanings to which they belong, and those from previous authors in a, chconological series. Each quotation should give a complete sense, and not be a mere fragment of a sentence. It should, if possible, be instructive and interesting in itself, but should not on this a,ccount be made too long. Those containing etymologies, definitions, or explanations of a word, as well as those in which it is joined to words of the same or opposite meaning, and those which mark its intro-duction or disuse, and those in which it is used a.s a foreign word not yet naturalized, should be especially snight for. Each should have as exact a reference as pos-sible. The common practice of giving only the author's name makes it sometimes impossible to verify a quotation 'without searching through his entire works, which may fill many volumes. In the case of some rare words, when the quotation would add nothing to the information otherise given, the mere reference may suffice. The value of a dictionary and the richness of its vocabulary depend very much on the carefulness and extent of the search for examples, which can only be complete when it has ex-tended to the whole literature of the language. If con-cordances and full indexes were more universal, the search for examples would be much facilitated. The foundation of the Philological Society's intended dictionary was to have been the reading of all English books not purely scientific for examples by volunteers. In October 1861, 1149 had been read, and 360 were in hand.
Though complete dictionaries of a language are very few, and none as yet exists in English, large dictionaries are many. The tendency of great dictionaries is to unite in themselves all the peculiar features of special dictiGnaries. A large dictionary is most useful when a word is to be thoroughly studied, or when there is difficulty in 'flaking out the meaning of a word or phrase. Special diction-aries are more useful for special purposes; for instance, synonyms are best studied in a dictionary of synonyms. And small dictionaries are more convenient for frequent use as in translating from an unfamiliar language, for words may be found more quickly, and they present the words and their meanings in a concentrated and compact form, instead of being scattered over a large space, and separated by other matter. Dictionaries of several languages, called polyglots, are of different kinds. Some are polyglot in the vocabulary, but not in the explanation, like Johnson's dictionary of Persian and Arabic explained in English ; some in the interpretation, but not in the vocabulary or explanation, like Calepini Octoglotton, a Latin dictionary of Latin, with the meanings in seven languages. Many great dictionaries are now polyglot in this sense. Some are polyglot in the vocabulary and interpretation, but are explained in one language, like Jal's Glossaire _A-antique, a glossary of sea terms in many languages, giving the equi-valents of each word in the other languages, but the ex-planation in French. Pauthier's Annainese Dictionary is polyglot in a peculiar way. It gives the Chinese charac-ters with their pronunciation in Chinese and Anuamese. Special dictionaries are various, and many kinds will be found in the following list. There are dictionaries of etymology-, foreign words, dialects, secret languages, slang, neology, barbarous words, faults of expression, choice words, prosody, pronunciation, spelling, orators, poets, law, music, proper names, particular authors, nouns, verbs, participles, particles, double forms, difficulties, and many others. Fick's dictionary (Gottingen, 1868, 8vo ; 1874-76, 8vo, 4 vols.) is a remarkable attempt to ascertain the common language of the Indo-European nations before each of their great separations. In the second edition of his F,tyntologische Forschungen (Lcingo and Detinoldt, 1859-73, 8vo, '7217 pages) Pott gives a comparative lexicon of Indo-European roots, 2226 in number, occupy-ing 5140 pages.
Comparatively few languages possess dictionaries, and they are few in number compared to other books, probably much under 2 per cent.; and 5000, not counting different editions, might be considered a very large collection. More than half belong to European languages, of which five surpass the rest in the number and variety of their dictionaries, namely, Greek, Latin, French, English, and German. In Asia, those excelling thie respect are 11 ebrew, Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Hindustani, Malay, Chinese, and, Japanese; in Africa, Egyptian, Ethiopic, and Kaffre ; America, Otomi, Aztec, Guarani, Tupi, and Quichua.
The following list of dictionaries is arranged geographi-cally by fatuities of languages, or by regions. In each group the order, when not alphabetical, is usually from north to south, extinct languages generally coining first, and dialects being placed under their language. Diction-aries forming parts of other works, such as tra,vels, histories, transactions, periodicals, reading-books, ciec., are generally excluded. When a, selection has to be made, the earliest, largest, latest, and best dictionaries are preferred. This systetn seemed on the whole best calculated to keep together dictionaries naturally associated. The languages to be considered are too many for an alphabetical arrange-ment, which ignores all relations both natural and geo-graphical, and too few to require a strict classification by affinities, by which the European languages, which for many reasons should be kept together, would be dispersed.
Under either system, Arabic, Persian, and Turkish, whose dictionaries are so closely connected, would be widely separated. A wholly geographical arrangement would be inconvenient, especially in Europe. Any system, however, which attempts to arrange in a consecutive series the great network of languages by which the whole world is enclosed, must be open to some objections ; and the arrangement adopted in this list has produced some anomalies and dispersions which might cause inconvenience if not pointed out. The old Italic languages are placed under Latin, all dialects of France under French (but Provencal as a distinct language), and Wallachian among Romanic languages. Low German and its dialects are not separated from High German. Basque is placed after Celtic ; Albanian, Gipsy, and Turkish at the end of Europe, the last being thus separated from its dialects and congeners in Northern and Central Asia, among which are placed the Kazan dialect of Tartar, Samoyed, and Ostiak. Accadian is placed after Assyrian among the Semitic languages, and Maltese as a dialect of Arabic ; while the Ethiopic is among African languages, as it seemed undesirable to separate it from the other Abyssinian languages, or these from their neighbours to the north and south. Circassian and Ossetic are joined to the first group of Aryan languages lyinr,° to the north-west of Persia, and containing Armenian, Georgian, and Kurd. The following is the older of the groups, some of the more important languages, that is, of those best provided with dictionaries, standing alone :-