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  Wikipedia: Webster's Third New International Dictionary

Wikipedia: Webster's Third New International Dictionary
Webster's Third New International Dictionary
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Background

Edited by Philip Gove and published in 1961, the third edition of Merriam-Webster's New International
Dictionary - proved particularly controversial.

History

The dictionary's principal predecessors were:
  • American Dictionary of the English Language, by Noah Webster (1828)
  • 1847 revision edited by Webster's son-in-law, Prof. Chauncey, and published by G. & C. Merriam Company
  • American Dictionary of the English Language or (popularly) the Unabridged, edited by Dr Noah Porter (1864)
  • Webster's International Dictionary, edited by Dr Noah Porter (1890)
  • Webster's New International Dictionary, edited by Dr William Torrey Harris (1909)
  • Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition, edited by Dr William Allan Neilson and Dr Thomas A. Knott (1934).

Merits and Criticisms

It came under fire for failing to draw attention to trade-marks (a policy largely reversed in reprints after 1962) and for not capitalizing any headwords (except for "God" and, in the reprints, trade-marks). Instead of capitalizing "American", for example, the dictionary has labels next to the entries reading cap (for the noun) and usu cap (for the adjective). Defenders argue that this allows informative distinctions to be drawn: "gallic" is usu cap while "gallicism" is often cap and "gallicize" is sometimes cap.

The dictionary was regarded by many critics as excessively permissive, and was compared unfavourably with the Second Edition of 1934. Critics charged that the dictionary was reluctant to defend standard English. "Ain't" received no more severe comment than "though disapproved by many and more common in less educated speech, used orally in most parts of the U.S. by many cultivated speakers esp. in the phrase ain't I".

The Third New International Dictionary is one of the foremost exemplars of descriptivist linguistics, aiming to represent the English language as it is actually spoken and written by most users.

Among the dictionary's strengths, it contains an unusually large number of pronunciation variants - even going so far as to indicate clearly the rhotic and non-rhotic variations; like smaller Merriam-Webster dictionaries, it contains short discussions of the differences between synonymous words; and above all, its definitions are normally clear and precise. It is also comprehensive. When first published, it contained more than 450,000 words.

Future

Since publication of the dictionary, Merriam-Webster has periodically released supplements. The Third New International Dictionary is also now available online. However, supplements aside, no new edition of the dictionary has now been produced for more than 40 years, a surprisingly long time - perhaps partly a result of its mixed reception. It is not now known when Merriam-Webster plans to publish the next edition.

  

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Modified by Geona