Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Webster’s 1828 dictionary

Several years ago I began to notice that words have reallllly changed.

What? Explain! 

Well, while reading the definition of a word in a current Dictionary I became suspicious that this was not the definition that I had learned as a kid.

So, being suspicious that the definition had been watered down, and searching around the house for an older dictionary than the one I was using, I found one from 1938.

And, yes, the definition had been seriously watered down!

Checking several more words, I found that this was not a one-time happenstance but was actually very common.

This was an across the board watering down but most obviously with the definitions of such words as sin, evil, devil, angel, mercy, faith, and other ‘religious’ words.

You might want to check out those and other definitions in your dictionary and then compare the more complete definition in a much older dictionary.

So, for the past several years I have only used my old 1938 dictionary when I want to look something up.

But, guess what, there is an even better ‘old’ dictionary.

Recently while visiting family on a vacation, one of my nephews made the same amazing discovery about the changes of words.  He was also using a current dictionary and also became suspicious.

So he found an 1848 Webster’s Dictionary, looked up the same word in it, and was so amazed that he called me to his study area to show me what he had found.

Yikes!  Talk about watered down and changed!  

So we looked at other words.  Same thing.

Then we went on the internet to see if there is an online version of the 1848 Webster’s.  There wasn’t.

But, there was an even older and better online version, the 1828 edition, which can also be purchased in hardcopy form.  

To read several different definitions in the 1828 version vs. contemporary dictionaries at a site that also sells the 1828 version, HERE’S THE LINK

And, knowing you will want to add the Free On Line version to your bookmarks for your personal use and edification, HERE’S THE LINK