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The Century Dictionary (12 vols.)

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With over half a million words and names defined or described,The Century Dictionary became the largest dictionary of its kind in the English language when it was published. It includes over ten thousand images and illustrations, and required the input of over one hundred scholars to complete. Edited by Sanskrit scholar and linguist William Dwight Whitney, this dictionary became a primary source for subsequent dictionaries and encyclopedias, including the prestigious Oxford English Dictionary. Striving to not only include words in modern usage, The Century Dictionary sought to record the main body of English speech that possessed historical, etymological, literary, scientific, or practical value.

“The first duty of a comprehensive dictionary is collection, not selection. When a full account of the language is sought, every omission of a genuine English form, even when practically necessary, is so far a defect; and it is therefore better to err on the side of broad inclusiveness than of narrow exclusiveness,” writes Whitney in the Preface to the first volume. These twelve volumes, comprised of over ten thousand pages, set a new standard for encyclopedic works, and are considered among the greatest achievements of American lexicography.

With Logos Bible Software, powerful search tools in your library help you find your way through one of the largest reference works ever published. You can link The Century Dictionary to the rest of the dictionaries and encyclopedias in your library and line them up side-by-side for simultaneous scrolling.

  • Over 10,000 pages, with more than 200,000 main entries
  • Includes over 10,000 images and illustrations
  • These volumes are completely searchable with Logos Bible Software
Wherever the English language is spoken, The Century Dictionary is acknowledged to be the only complete, adequate, and final authority on words.

The Independent

No person whose profession it may be to impart knowledge, can afford to be without The Century Dictionary.

The American Mathematical Monthly

The most conspicuous literary monument of the nineteenth century.

The American Anthropologist

  • Title: The Century Dictionary
  • Publisher: New York: The Century Co.
  • Editor: William Dwight Whitney
  • Volumes: 12
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William Dwight Whitney (1827–1894) was born in Northampton, Massachusetts and graduated from Williams College. He was a professor of Sanskrit and comparative philology at Yale University. He founded the American Philological Association in 1869, and wrote numerous books on language, grammar, and linguistics. He was the editor-in-chief of the first edition for The Century Dictionary.


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