5 Things You Didn't Know About Webster's Dictionary

On April 14, 1818, Noah Webster compiled Webster's American Dictionary, compiled by Noah Webster was printed for the first time. The dictionary has since become the go-to resource for those who wish to determine the meaning of every word in the English language.  Here are 5 interesting facts you didn't know about Webster's famous dictionary..


The Dictionary Wasn't His First English Language Book After graduating from Yale in the late 1700s, Webster worked as a teacher. As an educator, he was horrified at the poor quality of school textbooks, and took it upon himself to produce his own. Webster produced 'A Grammatical Institute of the English Language', which was published in 1783 and was the standard English language textbook in US schools over the next century.

It Wasn't His First Dictionary Either Webster's American Dictionary was not the first dictionary that Noah Webster published. He put out a smaller dictionary in 1806 called 'A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language'. Though the dictionary may not have been as detailed as the one to come, it still consisted of 37,000 defined words. It was also considered the first major dictionary in history to list the letter I and J and U and V separately. He began work on his American Dictionary the following year.


It Took Him 22 Years To Complete Webster’s dictionary was one of the first lexicons to include distinctly American words. Webster  was 70 years old when his American Dictionary of the English Language was finally published in 1828.  The dictionary, which took him more than two decades to complete, introduced more than 10,000 “Americanisms.” The introduction of a standard American dictionary helped standardize English spelling.

It Was the Largest Dictionary Ever Created Webster's Dictionary required two volumes to encompass all 70,000 defined words. About half of these terms were never part of any other English dictionary before. Other dictionaries paled in comparison, including the likes of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language, which was published in 1755 and contained 42,000 words.

He Made Edits to Certain Words While developing his dictionary, Webster sought to reform certain words included in his dictionary. For instance, he suggested taking out the letter "U" in words such as "colour" and "honour." Such reforms remain today, leaving behind some differences in American and British spelling. However, other suggestions were less successful and didn't take. Among his less popular suggestions, Webster attempted to remove the letter "B" from "thumb", the letter "S" from the "island", the letter "E" from "give".