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Today Marks the Anniversary of Noah Webster’s First Dictionary

book open on library desk

On this day in 1828, Noah Webster published his first dictionary.

On April 14, 1828, American lawyer Noah Webster published his American Dictionary of the English Language.  This project took Webster over 20 years, during which he learned 26 languages, such as Anglo-Saxon and Sanskrit, in order to correctly research the origins of his country’s language.

Webster’s finished dictionary contained 70,000 entries, including words that were distinctly American.  In his American Dictionary of the English Language, Webster was commended for his innovation as he did away with what he deemed were unnecessary English spelling conventions.  For instance, it was Webster who championed modern spelling rules such as, changing words like “musick” and “centre” to the “music” and “center” that we use today.

In the current day, we often associate the name Webster with the name Merriam, but when exactly did this partnership form?  Surprisingly, the Merriam brothers (George and Charles) never actually worked with Webster.  They simply inherited Webster’s legacy when they bought the unsold copies of the 1841 edition of An American Dictionary of the English Language, Corrected and Enlarged after Webster’s death in 1843.  At the time of the purchase, the Merriam brothers also purchased the right to create revised versions of Webster’s work.  This, in turn, marked the beginning of the Merriam-Webster dictionary that prevails in the modern day.

One of my favorite past times is to log on to and play their word games.  While I am not considered a nerd per se, I do enjoy word games.  I’d like to invite you to try one if you haven’t and let us know what you think.

We at The Maria Sanchez Show hope you enjoyed learning more on the anniversary of Noah Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language.  Don’t forget to check out our latest program, Shadow Politics with Senator Michael D. Brown. Tune in on Sundays at 4:00 p.m. PDT/7:00 p.m. EDT.

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