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BARCLAY’S UNIVERSAL ENGLISH DICTIONARY,
[Barclay, James].

BARCLAY’S UNIVERSAL ENGLISH DICTIONARY,

Including a Complete Modern Gazetteer and Atlas. With a Full Explanation of Difficult Words & Technical Terms in all Trades Profession Arts & Sciences. Printed and published by Nicholson & Co., Halifax N.d. c.[1806].
Reprint. 4to. (D-13N2]). Engraved t.p., 1 engraved plate, 15 maps including 9 coloured. Signature 12y with sm. repair, some browning and offsetting, modern e.ps., contemporary gilt rule edged calf boards, worn, rebacked in leather with original worn spine laid down. First published in 1774, passing through at least twenty-four reprints and editions by 1851. ODNB ‘... Despite its title the work took account of only a selection of English vocabulary, including ‘Difficult Words and Technical Terms in all Faculties and Professions.’ The stress-point in words was marked, and words were noted which were apparently synonyms: Barclay was the first English lexicographer to attempt the latter. In addition, the reader was provided with information more usually to be found in an encyclopaedia than in a dictionary. Thus, there were articles on politics and society, both past and present (for example, a listing of important historical events, descriptions of major towns and cities in the world, and details of Britain's trading relationships with the rest of the world), and on religion (the denominations of the church) and literature (a listing of Greek, Roman, and English classics). Illustrations accompanied some of the entries. Barclay's interest in linguistic matters per se is evidenced by the inclusion of an article on the origin of language by the Frenchman Abbé Antoine Anselme (1652–1737), and by a series of articles on the history, grammar, pronunciation, and orthography of English, very probably by Barclay himself. The dictionary won immediate acceptance from the public, especially the lower classes, for whom it acted, until well into the Victorian age, as an important means of self-education ...’
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