Samuel Johnson: A Dictionary of the English Language (2780 words)

Jack Lynch (Rutgers University, Newark )
Download PDF Save to Bookshelf Tweet Report an Error


Though often called “the first English dictionary”, Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language (1755) came after decades of English lexicography. Latin, bilingual, and polyglot dictionaries proliferated in England and Scotland from the Middle Ages through the sixteenth century, and the English language got its first general-purpose monolingual dictionary in 1604, Robert Cawdrey’s Table Alphabetical. Over the next century and a half twenty original English dictionaries appeared in dozens of editions and revisions. Still, through the first half of the eighteenth century, English speakers and writers lamented the lack of a reliable dictionary. Philip Dormer Stanhope, Lord Chesterfield, …

Citation: Lynch, Jack. "A Dictionary of the English Language". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 July 2018 [, accessed 28 October 2020.]

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here