James Crouchet crouchet at
Mon Jul 17 14:14:49 PDT 1995

On Mon, 17 Jul 1995, Nancy Bradford-Reid wrote:

> >At the lastest meeting of our clothiers guild (pradon to the people
> >are opposed to the term), we were discussing this argument that you
> >have been having, and a friend had a question about the use of the
> >dictionary to justify the particular definition of a word, and I felt it was
> >a very good one, so here it goes:  How can you use a dictionary to
> >justify the a word, when there were no dictionaries in the time frame
> >of the society? (the first being written by Samual Johnson, and before
> >this there was no real consenus on the definition of word, their
> >spelling, definition and use varied by district,  kingdom, and even by
> >town)  Our point being that you may have a reference in writing for a
> >period source, but how do you justify that as a common definition,
> >applying it to all countries?
> >
> >Just wondering,
> >
> >Lynette
> Good point.  However, the dictionaries are being used as points of
> reference:  the accumulation of information gathered by scholars
> (particularly in the case of the OED) who have gleaned as much information
> as possible from period (sic) sources and amalgamated it in one place.

Exactly. If we disallow dictionaries, should we not also disallow other 
modern compilations of information? That would include history books, 
encyclopedias, Janet Arnold, Fox-Davies, The Three Elizabethan Fencing 
Manuals, and most of our other sources. Never mind wholly modern 
creations, such as the Known World Handbook.

> Catherine


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