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USE OF SCHOOLS AND GENERAL STUDENTS.
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ADAPTED TO THE PRESENT STATE OF ENGLISH LITERATURE, AND COMPREHENDING
WITH A USEFUL COLLECTION OF PHILOLOGICAL, LITERARY, AND HISTORICAL ARTICLES,
BY P. AUSTIN NUTTALL, LL.D.
AUTHOR OF THE "CLASSICAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL DICTIONARY;" TRANSLATOR Or
"HORACE AND JUVENAL j" EDITOR OF " WALKER'S PRONOUNCING'
DICTIONARY ENLARGED AND AMENDED," STCV/fi
G. ROUTLEDGE & CO., FAKRINGDON STREET.
AND 18, BEEKMAN STREET, NEW YOKK.
** It Is the fate of those who toil at the lower employments of life, to be rather driven by the fear of evil, than attracted by the prospect of good,—to be exposed to censure, without hope of praise,—to be disgraced by miscarriage, or punished for neglect, where success would have been without applause, and diligence without reward. Among these unhappy mortals is the writer of Dictionaries; whom mankind have considered, not as the pupil but the slave of science, the pioneer of literature, doomed only to remove rubbish, and clear obstructions from the paths through which Learning and Genius press forward to conquest and glory, without bestowing a smile on the humble drudge that facilitates their progress. Every author may aspire to praise; the lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach."
Such was the forcible language of the great lexicographer whose name adorns the title-page of this volume; and although, as the M Architectus verborum " of our language, he had innumerable difficulties to encounter, he eventually succeeded in reducing the chaos of words to order, and laying a foundation on which future labourers in the vineyard of English philology might raise their superstructures. Hence have numerous editions, bearing the honoured name of Johnson, been ushered into the world,—some indeed possessing peculiar merits, and others betraying the most striking defects, in which not only their own errors but the faults and omissions of their great prototype are perpetuated;—some presented in a voluminous and expensive form, calculated exclusively for the rich; and others in a cheap and unassuming guise, intended for the rising generation and the multitude at large. Of the latter description Is the present little volume, which is issued in a neat and closely printed form, in anticipation that its moderate price and intrinsic worth will ensure it an extended circulation. It is not, however, to be presumed, that because it is a cheap edition less pains have been devoted to its improvement; since the whole has been critically revised, enlarged, and amended, and neither time nor labour has been spared in its general supervision. Obsolete or vulgar words have been expunged, numerous omissions supplied, and many imperfect or antiquated definitions corrected. As Johnson candidly admitted, he " had left that inaccurate which never was made exact, and that Imperfect which never was completed," —for "perfection is unattainable; but nearer and nearer approaches may be made." And here the Editor may safely repeat what he stated in his recent edition of "Walker's "Pronouncing Dictionary," that in the lapse of time many important changes in our language have gradually taken place; and consequently a thorough revision of the work became necessary. Numerous words, which in the time of Johnson were in current use, have now become obsolete; while many others, owing to the progress of knowledge, the extension of literature, or the usages of fashion, have sprung into existence. "As politeness increases," says Dr. Johnson, " some expressions will be considered as too gross for the delicate; others as too formal and ceremonious for the gay and airy. New phrases are therefore adopted, which must, for the same reasons, be in time dismissed."
Hence numerous words, which in the lapse of time have become obsolete or antiquated, have in this edition been cast aside, as being more suited, in the present day, to the pages of the Archaist than the columns of a vernacular dictionary. On the other hand, of the innumerable words which modern literature, science, or fashion has gradually brought into existence, some thousands have been here incorporated. Many of them, however, are of recent adoption: as Electrotype, Photography, Phrenology, Socialism, Tractarianism, Statistics, Macadamization, Mesmerism, Papiermache, Gutta-percha, Zincography, &c. There are also numerous terms connected with the military art, which were comparatively unknown in Johnson's time, but which have now, in a great measure, come into conversational use; as, for instance, the words Parallels, Lines, Approaches, Circumvallation, Galleries, Fascines, Gabions, Embrasures, Enceinte, Fraises, Epaulement, Escarp, Counterscarp, Curtain, Glacis, Ravelin, Traverses, Genouillere, Escalade, Gazons, &c. &c. These the Editor has taken especial care to incorporate and briefly explain. There are also many geological and other scientific terms which the important discoveries of modern times have brought into fashion, and could not with propriety be omitted; as Augite, Boulders, Felspar, Gneiss, Mica, Quartz, Schist, Talc, Schale, Tertiary, &c. Thus it is, and ever will be, that "those who have much leisure to think (as Johnson says) will always be enlarging the stock of ideas; and every increase of knowledge, whether real or fancied, will produce new words or combinations of words."
It is not, however, merely the number of words contained in a dictionary that stamps its value. In the progress of literature not only are new words introduced, but a modification, and sometimes a total change, takes place in the signification of many already in use. While some grow obsolete, others, which once formed part of the phraseology of polished society, are destined, at a subsequent period, to be known only as cant terms or vulgar jargon; such as Awhape, Mulligrubs, &c, which many lexicographers still mechanically retain, but which the Editor has here thought proper to reject. 4
"With regard to Pronunciation it does not appear that Johnson professed to afford much instruction. He considered it of too fleeting and unsettled a character ever to be reduced to any certain standard; yet he enters largely npon the subject of Accent, which mainly governs the pronunciation of the English language. "Accent," says he, "is the laying a peculiar stress of the voice on a certain letter or syllable in a word, that it may be better heard than the rest, or distinguished from them; as in the word presume, the stress of the voice must be on the letter «, and second syllable sume, which takes the accent. Every word of our language, of more than one syllable, has one of them distinguished from the rest in this manner; and every monosyllable of twe or more letters has one of its letters thus distinguished. As emphasis is a stronger and fuller sound of voice, by which we distinguish some word or words on which we design to lay particular stress, to shew how they affect the rest of the sentence; so, where other reasons do not forbid, the accent always dwells with greatest force on that part of the word which, from its importance, the hearer has always the greatest occasion to observe."
Notwithstanding the importance which Johnson attached to accentuation, he seems to have been satisfied with the simple introduction of the acute O over the accented syllable of a word; and he did not even avail himself of the advantage which the proper placing of the accent over the vowel or the consonant of a syllable might have afforded him. He uniformly places it over the vowel; so that he makes no distinction in accenting the vowels a and i in such words as ma'gi and mag'ic, divi'ne and divinity; though the pronunciation is often materially affected by the consonant that follows the voweL* Todd, Kichardson, and other lexicographers have also pursued this imperfect system of accentuation. In the present edition, however, the pronunciation of the distinctive vowel, diphthong, or syllable is indicated by the position of the accent; as in ma'gi and mag'ic, divi'ne and divin'ity, be'ardItuand bea'rer> flo'ral and florid, forfeit and forgery, &c; and sometimes the distinctive sound of the consonant (whether soft, or hard like A) may be denoted by the mere placing of the accent; as in ar'chery and architect, bra'celet and brachial, &c. Hence, as a general rule, the accentual mark ()
is placed after the vowel when the syllable is vocally long, and after the following consonant when the syllable is short; as in a'rea and ar'able, sublime and sublimity. But Mr. Sheridan, in his dissertation on Accent, has so clearly elucidated the importance of this feature in a Dictionary, that
we shall content ourselves with simply quoting his remarks by way of summary:—
* Accent, In the English language, means a certain stress of the voice upon a particular letter of a syllable, which distinguishes it from the rest, and,
* In the present edition the established pronunciation of the vowels, with their respective modiaeations, U briefly explained at the alphabetical commencement of each letter.