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Author Winchester, Simon.

Title The meaning of everything : the story of the Oxford English dictionary / Simon Winchester.

Publication Info. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2003.


Location Call No. Status
 Avon Free Public Library - Adult Department  423 WINCHESTER    Check Shelf
 Bloomfield, Prosser Library - Adult Department  423 WIN    Check Shelf
 Bristol, Main Library - Non Fiction  423 W721M    Check Shelf
 Burlington Public Library - Adult Department  423 WIN    Check Shelf
 Canton Public Library - Adult Department  423.028 WINCHESTER    Check Shelf
 Cromwell-Belden Public Library - Adult Department  423 WIN    Check Shelf
 East Hartford, Raymond Library - Adult Department  423.09 W    Check Shelf
 Enfield, Main Library - Adult Department  423 WIN    Check Shelf
 Farmington, Main Library - Adult Department  423 WIN    Check Shelf
 Glastonbury, Welles-Turner Memorial Library - Adult Department  423 WINCHESTER    Check Shelf

Description xxv, 260 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 23 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 251-253) and index.
Summary Traces the history of the Oxford English Dictionary from its earliest inception through its long path to completion, describes the process of creating a dictionary, and includes anecdotes about its creators and their work.
Contents 1. Taking the Measure of It All -- 2. The Construction of the Pigeon-Holes -- 3. The General Officer Commanding -- 4. Battling with the Undertow -- 5. Pushing through the Untrodden Forest -- 6. So Heavily Goes the Chariot -- 7. The Hermit and the Murderer -and Hereward Thimbleby Price -- 8. From Take to Turn-down -and then, Triumphal Valediction -- Epilogue: And Always Beginning Again.
Summary From the best-selling author of The Professor and the Madman, The Map That Changed the World, and Krakatoa comes a truly wonderful celebration of the English language and of its unrivaled treasure house, the Oxford English Dictionary. Writing with marvelous brio, Winchester first serves up a lightning history of the English language--"so vast, so sprawling, so wonderfully unwieldy"--and pays homage to the great dictionary makers, from "the irredeemably famous" Samuel Johnson to the "short, pale, smug and boastful" schoolmaster from New Hartford, Noah Webster. He then turns his unmatched talent for story-telling to the making of this most venerable of dictionaries. In this fast-paced narrative, the reader will discover lively portraits of such key figures as the brilliant but tubercular first editor Herbert Coleridge (grandson of the poet), the colorful, boisterous Frederick Furnivall (who left the project in a shambles), and James Augustus Henry Murray, who spent a half-century bringing the project to fruition. Winchester lovingly describes the nuts-and-bolts of dictionary making--how unexpectedly tricky the dictionary entry for marzipan was, or how fraternity turned out so much longer and monkey so much more ancient than anticipated--and how bondmaid was left out completely, its slips found lurking under a pile of books long after the B-volume had gone to press. We visit the ugly corrugated iron structure that Murray grandly dubbed the Scriptorium--the Scrippy or the Shed, as locals called it--and meet some of the legion of volunteers, from Fitzedward Hall, a bitter hermit obsessively devoted to the OED, to W. C. Minor, whose story is one of dangerous madness, ineluctable sadness, and ultimate redemption. The Meaning of Everything is a scintillating account of the creation of the greatest monument ever erected to a living language. Simon Winchester's supple, vigorous prose illuminates this dauntingly ambitious project--a seventy-year odyssey to create the grandfather of all word-books, the world's unrivalled uber-dictionary.
Subject Oxford English dictionary.
English language -- Lexicography -- History -- 19th century.
Murray, James A. H. (James Augustus Henry), 1837-1915.
Lexicographers -- Great Britain -- Biography.
Furnivall, Frederick James, 1825-1910.
Coleridge, Herbert, 1830-1861.
ISBN 0198607024
9780195175004 (pbk.)
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