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to assume the labor and responsibility which it involved. At last, with enfeebled bodily strength, he consented to enter upon a tentative process in connection with able and experienced associates. These associates were, at first, Mr. William G. WEBSTER, the Rev. CHAUNCEY GOODRICH, and Professor CHESTER S. LYMAN, of Yale College, all of whom had been employed in preparing the Pictorial Edition. Only repeated trials could satisfy so conscientious a lexicographer as Professor Goodrich in respect to the best plan of subjecting to new forms of expression the mass of valuable matter accumulated by Dr. Webster, and of re-arranging it according to more approved methods. The undertaking involved so much labor, and required changes so extensive and material, that Professor William D. WHITNEY and Professor DANIEL C. Gilman, both of Yale College, were soon added to the corps of associates. To these gentlemen was assigned the special duty of suggesting the changes and modifications which seemed to be required in the definitions of the principal words, their suggestions being submitted to Professor Goodrich for his judgment and decision, Under this arrangement, the work of experiment was going on till the death of Professor Goodrich. This untoward event occurred, however, before the experiment had been carried so far as to determine how much it was desirable to attempt in the way of recasting the definitions, or how much it was practicable to accomplish.
After the death of Professor Goodrich, in 1860, the direction of the work of revision was committed to Professor Noah PORTER, who had been intimately acquainted with his views ever since the publication of the Revised Edition of 1847, and bad frequently conferred with him in respect to the excellences and the defects of that edition, as well as the methods by which these defects might be remedied. Before the present revision was undertaken, Professor Porter had communicated in writing his views of the changes which ought to be made in the matter and form of the Dictionary; and, with a full knowledge of these views, Professor Goodrich had earnestly solicited him to undertake the entire responsibility and direction of the work. When the proposal was renewed by the proprietors of the copyright and by the family of Dr. Webster, it could not easily be declined; for it was enforced by considerations of affection and of duty both to the living and to the dead. But the service was assumed by him with great reluctance, as being foreign to his special studies, and incompatible with very pressing occupations. At the urgent solicitation of his valued friends the publishers, as well as of the family interested, and of his beloved associate, the late EDWARD C. HERRICK, — whose acquaintance with the Dictionary, and whose interest in it, extended back to the publication of the first edition in 1828,- he at first consented to undertake a general superintendence of the revision, but soon, by the force of circumstances, was constrained to bestow upon it a more minute attention. The collaborators already named continued their services to the end, and others were from time to time employed for a longer or a shorter period.
The following persons have been actively engaged in the preparation of the work. Mr. WILLIAM G. WEBSTER, — who has for many years labored in this field, first in connection with his honored father, and subsequently with Professor Goodrich, - has represented the views of his father and of the family, in respect to all questions of doubt or difficulty, and has also attended to the syllabication of the words, the determination of the accents, and the marking of the pronunciation. Professors William D. WHITNEY and DANIEL C. GILMAN have labored at the definitions of the principal words, recasting, re-arranging, and condensing them, introducing citations, &c.; their work, in all cases, having been sanctioned or revised by the Editor. Professor CHESTER S. LYMAN has given his attention chiefly to the terms in Mathematics, Physics, Technology, and Machinery, with the exception of those relating to the Steam-engine and to Rail. ways. These last have been carefully defined, and in some cases furnished, by ALEXANDER L. HOLLEY, Esq., an eminent Civil Engineer of New York, who has also contributed many original and valuable drawings for the illustrative woodcuts. Captain William P. Craighill, of the United States Engineers, recently Assistant Professor of Military and Civil Engineering and the Science of War, in the Military Academy at West Point, has given a like attention to the terms in Military Science, Engineering, and Gunnery, furnishing original drawings when necessary. It has already been stated that Professor James D. Dana had several years since been employed in the departments of Geology, Natural History, etc., to prepare new definitions, to recast the old, and to select new words. At his suggestion, William C. MINOR, M. D., was employed to render assistance in these departments, and he has labored with great ability and zeal in connection with Professor Dana, who has, in every instance, carefully reviewed and expressly sanctioned his work. The terms pertaining to Musical Science and Art were chiefly prepared or revised by LOWELL Mason, Esq., of New York; but many of the articles were written by John S. Dwight, Esq., of Boston. In Physiology and Medical Science, Professor R. CRESSON STILES, M. D., has furnished many carefully considered definitions and emendations. The Hon. J. C. PERKINS, of Salem, Massachusetts, who has had long experience as editor of various law publications, has, with great labor and care, revised the terms of Law and Jurisprudence. He has aimed to phrase these definitions in the more exact language which is required by the advance of Legal Science, and to support them by copious references to legal authorities. E. B. O'CALLAGHAN, S. J., of Albany, has revised and rewritten the definitions of such terms as have a special meaning in the Roman Catholic Church. It having been deemed desirable slightly to condense some of the etymological articles furnished by Dr. Mahn, and to translate portions of them into English, this work was committed to the care of Mr. EUGENE SCHUYLER, under the direction of Professor JAMES J. HAMMOND TRUMBULL, of Hartford, well known as a learned and eccurate student of the aboriginal languages of America.
To the Rev. CHAUNCEY GOODRICH was committed the very important duty of receiving the mass of material furnished by the most of the assistants who have been named, verifying its accuracy, and then incorporating it into the final copy for the printer. In this work he was assisted for several months by the Rev. Fisk P. BREWER and the Rev. JOAN M. MORRIS. Mr. Goodrich has also revised or prepared many of the definitions in Agriculture and Horticulture, in Antiquities and Architecture, in Biblical matters and Ecclesiastical History, in Commerce, Domestic Economy, and the Fine Arts, making use of the best authorities in each of these departments. He has also brought to the service the results of his own experience while laboring under his father's guidance, and the remembrance of his father's views and wishes in respect to many important details.
It was thought desirable, in order to secure the greatest possible accuracy and perfection to the copy, to place it for further revision in the hands of some scholar of critical habits and approved experience, who had not been concerned in its earlier preparation. Accordingly, Mr. WILLIAM A. WHEELER was employed for this service, and also to correct the proof-sheets; and with him was associated, at a later period, Mr. ARTHUR W. Wright. Mr. Wheeler was also employed in various other services hereafter to be named; and he has furnished especially valuable contributions from his ample literary stores, and given the work throughout the benefit of his exact learning and his nice discrimination. Mr. William G. Webster shared with Mr. Wheeler and Mr. Wright the responsibility of correcting the proofs. Mr. SAMUEL PORTER, of Hartford, besides reading a portion of the first proofs, has examined with great care the final or plate proofs; and the Dictionary is much the better for his detection of oversights, and for the alterations he has suggested. Valuable assistance has been received from various persons connected with the Boston Stereotype Foundry, especially from Mr. Thomas Holt, the Reader of the establishment, whose taste, experience, conscientious fidelity, and accurate but unpretending scholarship, have materially benefited the work.
The preparation of the Appendix was intrusted almost entirely to the supervision of Mr. Wheeler, who has read every page of it with critical care. The “Pronouncing Vocabulary of Scripture Names” was wholly prepared by him, and he constructed the very interesting and valuable « Vocabulary of the Names of Noted Fictitious Persons, Places, Etc. The full and accurate “Pronouncing Vocabulary of Greek and Latin Proper Names” was prepared with much labor and care by Professor Thomas A. THACHER, of Yale College. The “Pronouncing Vocabularies of Modern Geographical and Biographical Names” are the work of Dr. Joseph Thomas, of Philadelphia, author of the system of pronunciation in Lippincott's Gazetteer of the World, and his name will be a sufficient guaranty for their trustworthiness and value. The « Etymological Vocabulary of Modern Geographical Names” was prepared by the Rev. CHARLES H. WHEELER, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who also prepared the Explanatory Vocabulary of Christian Names, from materials furnished in part by CHARLES J. LUKENS, Esq., of Philadelphia. The Table of “ Arbitrary Signs used in Writing and Printing” was originally prepared by Professor Lyman, and has been revised for this edition by Mr. Wright and Mr. William A. Wheeler. Mr. William G. Webster, with the assistance of several of the other collaborators, has revised and greatly improved the list of “ Abbreviations and Contractions used in Writing and Printing," and the list of “ Quotations, Words, Phrases, Proverbs, etc., from the Greek, the Latin, and Modern Foreign Languages,” which were originally compiled by him. A particular account of the various vocabularies will be found in the general Preface to the Appendix, and in the special Prefaces to the vocabularies themselves.
The elaborate and learned Introduction to the previous editions has been omitted. It is not without regret that this venerable memorial of the enterprise, the sagacity, and the scholarship of Dr. Webster, has been displaced to make room for new matter more in accordance with the advance of Philological Science and the wants of the present generation. To supply its place, Professor James Hadley has contributed “A Brief History of the English Language," designed to show its philological relations, and to trace the progress and influence of the causes which have brought it to its present condition. Professor Hadley has also contributed his advice in respect to numerous questions, philological and general, which were constantly arising, and has given his sanction to the principles and aims that have guided the Editor and his collaborators in the changes which have been adopted in this edition.
The Preface of the Editor of the Revised Edition of 1847, the Preface of the Author to the original edition of 1828, and the Memoir of Dr. Webster by Professor Goodrich, are all retained in this edition, as containing some important details of literary history, and as furnishing a concise statement of the principles which were adopted in the preparation of the successive editions of the work.
The “ Principles of Pronunciation," originally prepared by Professor Goodrich for the edition of 1859, have been carefully revised and much expanded by Mr. Wheeler, whose attention had been previously directed to this subject in the preparation of “A Manual of English Pronunciation and Spelling" (Boston, 1861). Mr. Wheeler has also revised and much enlarged the “Synopsis of Words Differently Pronounced by Different Orthoëpists,” which was originally prepared by Dr. JOSEPH E. WORCESTER, and inserted in the Octavo Abridgment of Webster's “ American Dictionary," Besides the persons already named in connection with the special services which they have rendered, a large number of persons have contributed important materials and suggestions to the principal collaborators. Among these, particular mention should be made of Mr. H. S. Dana, of Woodstock, Vermont, who furnished a large and critically selected list of words and readings from the dramatic and other writers of the age of Queen Elizabeth. For the abundant and varied collection of illustrative passages and citations which were at the service of the Revisers, they are indebted to the zeal and painstaking of many devoted “readers” for the Dictionary, not a few of the most faithful and judicious of whom were ladies.
To the Hon. GEORGE P. MARSH, the Editor is under obligations for some valuable suggestions in respect to the principles which should be followed in the preparation of a popular English Dictionary.
It is not practicable to enumerate here the works contained in the library of authorities furnished to the Editor and his associates by the enlightened enterprise of the publishers. As this Dictionary was designed to be not merely a compilation, but a digest of results obtained by independent research, comparatively few referenoes are made to other Dictionaries and Encyclopedias. But the best works of the kind have been freely consulted, and, among them, the well-known Dictionary of Dr. Joseph E. Worcester, which is so honorable to the industry of the author and the scholarship of the country.
The features of the present Edition which deserve to be specially enumerated are the following:
1. The Revised Etymology. This feature has already been noticed. It is believed that critical readers will acknowledge the learning, the brevity, the sound judgment, the self-explaining order, and the minutely-traced ramifications, which characterize these etymologies, and it is hoped that they will attract the attention and stimulate the studies of all who desire to know more of the varied history of their mother-tongue.
II. The Revised Definitions. The definitions of the principal words, not scientific or technical, have been carefully elaborated by Professors Whitney and Gilman, each possessing peculiar qualifications, and each performing his work as thoroughly as was possible within the limits prescribed. Their work was carefully reviewed by the Editor before it was admitted into the copy. The rule which he adopted for his own guidance was freely to accept and make any change in the matter and the langnage of the previous edition which he had reason to suppose would be desired by Dr. Webster himself, were wu now iiving, and fully possessed of the principles which have been universa y accepted by modern philologists and lexicographers, or which Professor Goodrich would have sanctioned, had he been able to give to the work of revision the full measure of his well-known energy and sagacious judgment. In accordance with this rule, great pains have been taken, 1. To contract and condense the definitions into as few general heads, of numbered divisions, as was practicable. In this the example of Dr. Goodrich, in his experimental work, was followed, and the Revisers have sought to avoid all redundancy and tautology, to strike out all mere enumerations of particular applications of meanings, and to reduce the number of illustrative phrases to the actual wants of the reader. While they have been thus bold on the one hand, they have been studiously careful, on the other, to retain the exact language of the earlier edition, in every case possible, esteeming very highly Dr. Webster's plain and clearly-expressed definitions for their own sake as well as for that of the author, and preferring to err on the side of cautious reverence rather than on that of thoughtless innovation. In many cases in which the numbered articles under a word have been diminished, it will be found that the number of real definitions has been materially increased, and that the gathering of them into fewer groups has contributed to their more easy comprehension and more ready use. A single article often includes a group of kindred meanings, and thus enables the reader to view at a glance their close relation and similarity, and to trace out the subtle movement of thought by which one was evolved from another. Often, too, a well-chosen citation from a good author has been preferred, as a means of definition, to an explanatory circumlocution. 2. An effort has been constantly made to develop and arrange the several meanings and groups of meanings in the order of their actual growth and history, beginning, if possible, with the primitive signification, as indicated by the etymology. As this, for many reasons, has now become possible in numerous cases in which it was impossible in the time of Dr. Webster, and as, in many instances, Dr. Webster did not perfect this order when the materials were within his reach, it has been often found necessary, in the present edition, to change the arrangement of the definitions. Special consideration has been given to this point in view of the fact that the study, or even the casual notice, of the order of growth in the meanings of single words, is a stimulant of thought, and the habitual attention to it is of itself an education. 3. Many new meanings have been added, either as they have been brought to light by an extended examination of authors in the earlier and later periods of English literature, or as they have occurred to the Revisers in performing their work, or have been suggested by the kindness of critical and thoughtful friends.
III. The Illustrative Citations. Special effort has been made to obtain illustrative passages from classical Eng. lish writers, both old and new. In order to collect such passages, and also to discover words and meanings that had been omitted in other English Dictionaries, a systematized plan was devised by which a large number of works in all sages was placed at the disposal of the Revisers. The principal dramatic authors, and various prose writers, of the age of Queen Elizabeth, were read with care by Mr. H. S. Dana. The plays of Shakespeare and the poetry of Milton were carefully studied by the aid of the excellent Concordances of Mrs. Mary Cowden Clarke and Mr. Guy Lushington Prendergast, with particular reference to any special usage which these poets have sanctioned. The most prominent in the long series of English writers, down to the latest, have been read for the purpose of selecting illustrations, especially those writers whose use of language is particularly idiomatic or classical. Sir Walter Scott, Southey, Coleridge, Lamb, Byron, Washington Irving, De Quincey, Macaulay, Tennyson, Hawthorne, and many others, have received as much attention as the older writers. A comparatively small portion only of the passages which were marked and copied has been actually used, it being thought undesirable to multiply such passages when they were required for no valuable end. In cases where to cite a passage would serve no purpose in illustrating a meaning or justifying the use of a word, the name only of the author has been given, provided, as in the case of words obsolete or not now approved, the authority of some writer was deemed desirable. The free use of this large and varied collection of citations will, it is thought, add greatly to the value and interest of the present edition. It is believed that no dictionary of the language contains so many apt illustrations from so large a variety of writers. The citations which have been retained from the preced. ing editions, as well as those introduced for the first time, have, as far as possible, been verified and copied with scrupulous care. Such passages were preferred as would throw additional light upon the definitions, or as possessed any interest of thought or of language.
IV. The Vocabulary. No pains have been spared to introduce additional words, provided they were of such a character as to deserve insertion. At the same time, the Revisers have been actuated by no desire to swell the list to the greatest possible number. Words which were the offspring of the individual conceit of a whimsical or lawless writer, which did not conform to the analogies of the language, and which were never accepted or approved by good writers, of their own or a subsequent generation, have not been admitted. On the other hand, new words which have been acknowledged and approved as good have been carefully garnered, whether used by old authors or new. A great number of obsolete or obsolescent words, which were once accepted and freely used, have been recovered by the readings and researches that were directed in part to this end. Self-explaining compounds have been designedly omitted by hundreds, if not by thousands, while care has been taken to introduce and explain all those which need to be defined. It will be observed, however, that this edition differs from the former editions in following a strictly alphabetical arrangement of all such words. The participles, participial adjectives, and verbal nouns in most cases do not appear in the vocabulary as separate words, but are given under the verbs from which they are formed, and which explain their meaning. But the participial adjectives and verbal nouns have a separate place and treatment, in those cases in which they have obtained a meaning different from that which they derive from the verbs to which they belong. The principal parts of the verbs, regular and irregular, are given together, within brackets, under the verb, instead of being entered and defined separately. But the principal parts of the irregular verbs are usually inserted in their proper alphabetical places, with a simple cross-reference to the verbs themselves. A similar course has been pursued in regard to the comparative and superlative degrees of many adjectives, and the irregular plurals of nouns. The vocabulary, as a whole, though not constructed for any display of enumerated titles, will be found to be greatly increased and enriched. It comprises an aggregate of upward of 114,000 words.
V. The Scientific and Technical Definitions have been carefully revised and elaborated by very able gentlemen, and with the aid of the best authorities. Many of the articles, it is believed, will command confidence and elicit commendation for their scientific value, while their brevity and plain language fit them for the use and instruction of all classes.
VI. The Collection of Synonyms, so carefully prepared by Professor Goodrich, has, with a few slight changes, been incorporated into the body of the work for greater facility of reference. The number of the words thus defined and distinguished is far greater than the number of separate articles would seem to indicate. The meanings are thoroughly discriminated in every case, the words being traced from their etymology, and explained by formal definitions, as well as illustrated by contrasted examples of their various use. In addition, copious lists of synonymous or interchangeable terms have been attached to most of the important words, for the convenience of teachers and inexperienced writers.
VII. The Pictorial Illustrations, more than three thousand in number, have been inserted in the body of the work, for the greater convenience of those who consult it; but the obvious advantages of a classified arrangement have induced the publishers to repeat the greater part of them at the end of the volume; and to these are added many others, which, from their larger size or other cause, were not so well adapted to the body of the work. It will be observed that an entirely new selection of illustrations has been made for this edition, many being taken from original drawings, and the remainder chiefly from works of high authority in their respective departments. For the artistic beauty of these cuts, the work is indebted to Mr. John ANDREW, of Boston, who has a distinguished reputation as an engraver on trated works on Natural History, it is customary to represent only a limited number of objects; and, in a work like the present, a still smaller number of such illustrations could be admitted. The general aim has been to illustrate those objects of which a drawing would convey a better conception than a mere verbal description. Those who use the Dictionary will not fail to observe that, to many words which are not themselves illustrated, there are subjoined reférences to illustrations given in connection with other words; as, under Withers, it is said, “[See Illust. of Horse.] ”
VIII. The Vocabularies in the Appendix have been re-edited, or expressly prepared for this edition by able scholars, as will appear from the full account of the Vocabularies themselves, and of the researches and aims of the autors in the special Introductions which accompany them. The first and most prominent, the “ Vocabulary of the Names of Noted Fictitious Persons, Places, Etc.," by Mr.Wheeler, is a novel and appropriate accompaniment of an English Dictionary. It is the first attempt of the kind, at least in our language, and is valuable for its interesting gleanings from history and biography, as well as for its explanations of many obscure allusions in the best and most popular writers. The remaining Vocabularies are all the products of original and laborious research, or are trustworthy compilations from the best sources.
IX. The Pronunciation of English words has been carefully attended to in this edition. The principles adopted are stated at length and fully illustrated in the article on the Principles of Pronunciation, which was originally prepared by Professor Goodrich, and has been elaborated by Mr. Wheeler, with suggestions from able scholars, who, as well as himself, have made a special study of English orthoëpy and the science of phonology. A more thoroughly practical and satisfactory treatment of the subject, the Editor confidently believes, can not be found in the language. The “Synopsis of Words Differently Pronounced by Different Orthoëpists” will be found to be a comprehensive, practical, and fully trustworthy exhibition of the various modes of pronunciation given in the best English Dictionaries. The pronunciation of each word in the Dictionary is indicated by the marked or figured Key which is to be found at the bottom of the page. This Key has been remodeled and arranged with special reference to this edition, and contains some few characters additional to those of the Key previously used. The number of characters now employed is thought to be as large as is desirable. To attempt more is to seem to promise more than it is practicable to perform, and is, besides, open to the objection that a complex notation would not be readily understood.
X. The Orthography. In this department no change has been made in the principles adopted and clearly set forth in the Revised Edition of 1847, and so generally accepted by the American public. In a few classes of words the Dictionary recommends and follows the peculiar modes of spelling which Dr. Webster introduced for the sake of carrying out the acknowledged analogies of the language — modes of spelling, which, in every instance, had been previously suggested by distinguished English grammarians and writers on orthography, such as Lowth, Walker, &c., and the propriety of which has been recognized by Smart and other recent English lexicographers. But to remove every reasonable ground of complaint against the Dictionary in regard to this matter, an alternative orthography is now given in almost every case, the old style of spelling being subjoined to the reformed or new. In two or three instances it has been found that the forms introduced by Dr. Webster, or to which he lent his sanction, were based upon a mistaken etymology; and therefore these forms have been set aside, and the old spelling has been restored. Preceding this' account are some Observations on the general subject of Orthography, with copious “Rules for Spelling Certain Classes of Words,” prepared by Mr. Wright, followed by “ A List of Words Spelled in Two or More Ways,” compiled expressly for the present edition. These new features give this edition of the Dictionary a great superiority over the former editions.
In conclusion, the Editor desires to express his thanks to all the persons who have assisted in the preparation of the present edition, for the fidelity and perseverance with which they have discharged their duties. It is to their industry, scholarship, and zeal, that the peculiar excellences of this edition are chiefly to be ascribed. Though the Editor is more sensible of its deficiencies than any other person can be, yet he does not hesitate to commend it to the public for the improvements which are due to the thorough research and careful attention which have been bestowed by his associates in preparing it. To them the public owe a debt of grateful appreciation, which, he believes, will be cheerfully discharged.
NOAH PORTER. NEW HAVEN, July, 1864, P.S. Inasmuch as with the progress of science, the inventions of art, and the freedom accorded to literature, new words gradually come into use and words already familiar are employed in new appli ations and significations, it is inevitable that a supplement of new words and new meanings should occasionally be required for the dictionary of every living language. The materials for such a supplement have been slowly accumulated from many sources and at the suggestion and by the assistance of many friends of literature and science. These materials have been carefully revised and greatly enriched by the conscientious labours of Professor Franklin B. Dexter, of Yale College, and, as the result, a considerable addition of new words and significations is now presented to the public, together with a greatly enlarged and improved Biographical Dictionary, the work of Mr. Loomis J. Campbell, a careful and experienced student and labourer.- N. P.