Dictionary Day is on October 16. The unofficial holiday celebrates the birth anniversary of American lexicographer, Noah Webster.
Born on October 16, 1758, Webster is best known for publishing An American Dictionary of the English Language, the precursor of the now famous and widely used Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
A dictionary is a reference book that lists words in a language and provides the meaning, origin and pronunciation of each listed word. The book also informs users on how to use a word in different circumstances.
Semasiological, of Course
Dictionaries are semasiological. Semasiology is the branch of linguistics that deals with the definition of words and phrases in a language. This is different from onomasiology, which deals with what things and concepts are called. A thesuarus is an onomasiological reference book because it provides users the different terms that can be used to express a specific idea.
How to Celebrate?
Pick up a dictionary and try to learn the meanings of at least 5 new words.
Learn more about the history and science behind publishing dictionaries.
Did You Know...
...that pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is the longest word in the Merriam-Webster dictionary? At 45 letters, the word refers to a lung disease.