The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary

The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary

Simon Winchester


From the best-selling writer of The Professor and the Madman, The Map that modified the World, and Krakatoa comes a really outstanding occasion of the English language and of its unequalled treasure apartment, the Oxford English Dictionary.

Writing with terrific brio, Winchester first serves up a lightning heritage of the English language--"so big, so sprawling, so splendidly unwieldy"--and can pay homage to the good dictionary makers, from "the irredeemably recognized" Samuel Johnson to the "short, light, boastful and smug" schoolmaster from New Hartford, Noah Webster. He then turns his unrivaled expertise for story-telling to the making of this such a lot venerable of dictionaries. during this fast moving narrative, the reader will detect full of life pix of such key figures because the impressive yet tubercular first editor Herbert Coleridge (grandson of the poet), the colourful, boisterous Frederick Furnivall (who left the undertaking in a shambles), and James Augustus Henry Murray, who spent a half-century bringing the undertaking to fruition. Winchester lovingly describes the nuts-and-bolts of dictionary making--how all of sudden tough the dictionary access for marzipan was once, or how fraternity became out loads longer and monkey much more old than anticipated--and how bondmaid was once omitted thoroughly, its slips discovered lurking below a pile of books lengthy after the B-volume had long past to press. We stopover at the grotesque corrugated iron constitution that Murray grandly dubbed the Scriptorium--the Scrippy or the Shed, as locals known as it--and meet a number of the legion of volunteers, from Fitzedward corridor, a sour hermit obsessively dedicated to the OED, to W. C. Minor, whose tale is one in every of risky insanity, ineluctable unhappiness, and supreme redemption.
The that means of every little thing is a scintillating account of the construction of the best monument ever erected to a residing language. Simon Winchester's supple, energetic prose illuminates this dauntingly formidable project--a seventy-year odyssey to create the grandfather of all word-books, the world's unrivalled uber-dictionary.

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