Dictionary Quotes

Its most important claim on our attentnion is that Johnson’s [dictionary] is the only English dictionary that can be called a great work of literature. Most reference books are interesting only as long as they’re current; Johnson remains fascinating long after his definitions have been superseded.

Sometimes you can’t look up the correct spelling of a word in the dictionary because you don’t know how to spell it.

A great memory is never made synonymous with wisdom, any more than a dictionary would be called a treatise.

“Just the man I was looking for,” said a voice at Winston’s back. He turned round. It was his friend Syme, who worked in the Research Department… Syme was a philologist, a specialist in Newspeak. Indeed, he was one of the enormous team of experts now engaged in compiling the Eleventh Edition of the Newspeak […]

Susurrus, according to her grandmother’s dictionary, it meant “a low soft sound, as of whispering or muttering.” Tiffany liked the “taste” of the word. It made her think of mysterious people in long cloaks whispering important secrets behind a door: “susurruss-susurusss” She’d read the dictionary all the way through. No one told her you weren’t […]

My mouth’s no dictionary; it only serves as the needful interpreter of my heart.

Johnson’s great Dictionary of the English Language, virtually from its inception, has represented a contribution not only to English letters and lexicography, but also to English literary and heroic myth. His bold effort to produce single-handedly the first English dictionary on the scale of the impressive lexicons of the French and Italian academies – a […]

He (Noah Webster) had no conception of the enormous weight of the English language and literature, when he undertook to shovel it out of the path of American civilization.

Webster, (Noah) the pioneer in many fields of endeavor on the American intellectual frontier, taught the masses to spell and read. He was truly the schoolmaster of the Republic.

The ease with which Webster walked about the Jericho of English lexicography, blowing his trumpet of destruction, was an American ease, born of a sense that America was a continent and not a province.