On October 16, National Dictionary Day celebrates the birthday of Noah Webster, the creator of the first dictionary. Even after its publication, Webster continued to expand and add to it over the next 27 years, resulting in a large-scale work encompassing a huge number of words and terms with spelling updates.
Noah Webster was born in 1758 in the city of Hartford, Connecticut, to an artisan farmer and a housewife. After graduating from Yale’s Faculty of Law, he took up science and teaching. In 1783, he published the first English grammar book, which became very popular. However, Webster felt confined by academic English, so in 1801, he began to collect material for a dictionary, defining rare terms in American English, which differed significantly from the language spoken in England. Later, he moved to Amherst, Massachusetts, to establish Amherst College. In 1806, he created his first dictionary, containing about 37 words. Not satisfied with this result, he released an updated dictionary in 1828, which included over 65 thousand words.
- Noah Webster learned 26 new languages while creating dictionaries.
- In the 1800s, the first dictionary cost $6 per book.
- Webster was engaged not only in linguistics, but also in social issues such as opposing slavery, and discussing global warming before evidence of it was available.
- His great nephew was the great poet T. S. Eliot.
How to take part
On the occasion of National Dictionary Day, you can learn some new and useful words to make your everyday speech more interesting and richer. Try playing Scrabble or another similar word game during your next meeting with friends. In the store on the occasion of the national day, you can buy a dictionary or reference book – it may come in handy when you can’t find the meaning of a word online.
When is National Dictionary Day celebrated in 2023?
National Dictionary Day is observed on October 16 each year.