Dr Samuel Johnson and the Dictionary of English Language 1755

Great advances in the print trade, meant that printed material in all it’s guises, became more available, at a cheaper price, to a much wider and more literate audience.

    • It was decided by a group of like minded London booksellers, that a standardization of spellings and meanings of the English language, was needed across the printing fraternity and would be, a best seller.
    • They asked Samuel Johnson if he would undertake the task for the sum of 1500 guineas.
    • He did so and rented rooms at Gough Square, just off Fleet Street in London.
    • After many trials and tribulations and a great deal of angst on his part, the dictionary was published on 15th April 1755, having taken six years to complete and containing an incredible 43,500 words.

His contribution to the literacy of the nation cannot be underestimated.

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