Subject Material

Chapter 7 - The Age of the Dictionary

Published: 06.12.2011, Updated: 04.03.2017

The History of English in 10 minutes - Chapter 7 (OU)

The Age of the Dictionary  


  1. What is a lexicographer?
  2. Who was one of the first compilers of a dictionary and how many years did it take him to finish it?
  3. How many entries did it have?
  4. What was standardised in the dictionaries? Why was that necessary?
  5. Which modern dictionary is mentioned and when did it first appear?


  1. How many entries do you think the Oxford English Dictionary has today? Fun Language Facts 
  2. Do you know what the following words mean?
    • crinkum-crankum
    • exigency
    • flibbertigibbet
    • balderdash
    • doddle
  3. What makes it necessary to continually revise dictionaries?

Suggested Further Reading

  1. The Origins of the English Language 
  2. Why So Much Variety in English? 
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