1828 dictionary

The 1828 Dictionnary is the most known dictionnary in the US which is used million times a year.

But do you know the story of this dictionnary ?

The creator

The creator of the dictionnary is named Noah Webster, born October 16, 1758 in West Hartford and died May 28, 1843 in New Haven, is an American lexicographer, spelling reformer, journalist, writer, and publisher of American English.

Noah Webster was born into a family that originated in the Northeast: his father Noah Sr. (1722-1813) descended from Connecticut Governor John Webster, a farmer and weaver, who owned a farm of thirty-five ha, was a judge of peace and deacon of his local congregational church, as well as a captain placed on the “alarm list” of the local militia. His mother Mercy (née Steele, died 1794) was descended from the governor of the Plymouth Colony, William Bradford. His brothers were Charles (born 1762) and Abraham (1751-1831), and his sisters, Mercy (1749-1820) and Jerusha (1756-1831).

Enrolled in 1774 at Yale University, the only one in Connecticut at the time, when he was only sixteen, he studied with Yale president, scholar Ezra Stiles. With his four years of college coinciding with the American Revolution, food shortages forced him to take many of his classes in other cities, such as Glastonbury2. He served in the Connecticut militia. His father having mortgaged his farm to send him to Yale, he had to fend for himself and had nothing to do with his family. Upon leaving Yale in 1778, he taught at Glastonbury, Hartford and West Hartford. Admitted to the bar in 1781, he practiced law from 1789. Realizing that law was not to his liking, he tried his hand at teaching, creating several small schools that did not meet with the expected success.


Noah Webster’s cousin, Senator Daniel Webster introduces the copyright law proposed by Noah Webster4. The statutory revision of the first amendment to United States copyright law, the Act of 1831, was the result of intensive pressure by Noah Webster and his agents on the United States Congress.

Why did he create this?

Noah Webster was an utopist who wanted to free the American from the British.

he saw American nationalism as superior to Europe because American values were superior.

Webster has devoted his alphabet book and dictionary to the intellectual foundation of American nationalism. A staunch defender of the new Constitution in 1787-89, Webster’s political theory 2 placed more importance on the development of property (a key element of liberalism) than on virtue (a core value of American republicanism).

On December 9, 17939 he founded the first New York daily, the American Minerva (later known as The Commercial Advertiser), which he would edit for four years, writing the equivalent of 20 volumes of articles and editorials. He also published the bi-weekly The Herald, A Gazette for the country (later known as The New York Spectator).

Webster was a supporter of radical French thought and was one of the few American admirers of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. When France and Great Britain entered the war in 1793, he urged to remain neutral. However, he condemned the first Ambassador of the French Republic to the United States, Citizen Genêt when he set up a pro-Jacobin French party in Washington by interfering in American politics and attacking President Washington, calling on the other federalist editors to “ignore political clubs by mutual agreement by not publishing anything for or against them. The sun of peace will destroy these plants with exotic and forced birth ”11

Webster was, for decades, one of the most prolific authors of the New American Nation, publishing textbooks, political essays, a report on infectious diseases, and a remarkable amount of journal articles for the Federalist Party, so much so that a modern bibliography of his works required no less than 655 pages. Upon his return to New Haven in 1798, he was elected a federalist member of the Connecticut House of Representatives, where he served in 1800 and from 1802 to 1807. He is buried in the Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven.

A Lexicographer

In 1806 Webster published his first dictionary, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language. In 1807 he set about the labor, which was to take him twenty-seven years to complete, of compiling An American Dictionary of the English Language, an integral and exhaustive dictionary. In order to assess the etymology of words, Webster learned twenty-six languages, including Old English (Anglo-Saxon), German, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, ‘Hebrew, Arabic and Sanskrit. As Americans used different languages ​​in different parts of the country, spelling, pronouncing and using English words differently, Webster set out to standardize their language.

Webster completed his dictionary during his year abroad in 1825 in Paris and at Cambridge University. Seventy years old, he published his dictionary in 1828, which contained seventy thousand words, including twelve thousand previously unknown in dictionaries. Judging, as a reformer of spelling, unnecessarily complex English spelling rules, Anglo-American spelling, where color replaced color, wagon replaced waggon, and center was imprinted center, was introduced. American terms, absent from English dictionaries, such as skunk and squash, were also added.

This first dictionary, which earned its author a place of honor in the history of American English, however, only sold 2,500 copies in its day. Webster was forced to mortgage his house in order to get a second edition published, and from that point on he was in debt for the rest of his life.

In 1840, the second edition of the two-volume Dictionary saw the light of day, and within days of completing the revision of a supplement to the second edition, Noah Webster passed away, while much of his efforts in this area remained unrecognized. dictionary.