A Thing About Words

Posts From the Editors

November 20, 2014

Guest Post: “Get the Best” – Bringing a Dictionary to Market in 1864

Madeline Kripke is an independent scholar and one of America’s leading antiquarian dictionary dealers. Her vast personal collection includes 19th-century archives and private papers of the Merriam publishing company. She is sometimes referred to as the Dame of Dictionaries. We’re happy that she has shared some of her historical knowledge with us [...] more »

The Editors
October 28, 2014

Webster’s After Webster: Part One

During the decade that followed Noah Webster’s death in 1843, his American Dictionary of the English Language became a far more popular book than it had been during the author’s own lifetime. This was largely thanks to the business savvy of its new publishers, George and Charles Merriam, who in 1847 vastly [...] more »

Joanne Despres
October 20, 2014

The Greatest Dictionary You Never Heard Of

This October we begin our celebration of the 150th anniversary of the greatest dictionary you have probably never heard of – the 1864 revision of An American Dictionary of the English Language, commonly known as Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. This anniversary is a timely one, as we are once again actively [...] more »

John Morse
September 18, 2014

Trees to Text: Putting The Dictionary Online

It may come as no surprise to you that many of us at Merriam-Webster are book enthusiasts. After all, we deal in books: we read them, we mark them, we make them. For my own part, books take up more space in my house than my children do. And yet, [...] more »

Kory Stamper
September 4, 2014

Turning the Page

  A blog post by James Somers about how writers use dictionaries recently made the rounds on social media, where writers connect while working. The piece was itself inspired by an article on the writing process by John McPhee of The New Yorker. Somers makes a compelling case for the [...] more »

Peter Sokolowski

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