A english dictionary with transcription download-volume Latin dictionary by Egidio Forcellini. A broad distinction is made between general and specialized dictionaries.
Specialized dictionaries include words in specialist fields, rather than a complete range of words in the language. 20th-century enterprise, called lexicography, and largely initiated by Ladislav Zgusta. The French-language Petit Larousse is an example of an illustrated dictionary. Greek until the end of the 20th century. The earliest dictionaries in the English language were glossaries of French, Spanish or Latin words along with their definitions in English. The word “dictionary” was invented by an Englishman called John of Garland in 1220 — he had written a book Dictionarius to help with Latin “diction”.
The first purely English alphabetical dictionary was A Table Alphabeticall, written by English schoolteacher Robert Cawdrey in 1604. The only surviving copy is found at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. In 1616, John Bullokar described the history of the dictionary with his “English Expositor”. Glossographia by Thomas Blount, published in 1656, contains more than 10,000 words along with their etymologies or histories. Many people today mistakenly believe that Johnson wrote the first English dictionary: a testimony to this legacy. Johnson’s dictionary remained the English-language standard for over 150 years, until the Oxford University Press began writing and releasing the Oxford English Dictionary in short fascicles from 1884 onwards.
In 1806, American Noah Webster published his first dictionary, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language. Webster completed his dictionary during his year abroad in 1825 in Paris, France, and at the University of Cambridge. His book contained seventy thousand words, of which twelve thousand had never appeared in a published dictionary before. In a general dictionary, each word may have multiple meanings.
Some dictionaries include each separate meaning in the order of most common usage while others list definitions in historical order, with the oldest usage first. In many languages, words can appear in many different forms, but only the undeclined or unconjugated form appears as the headword in most dictionaries. According to the Manual of Specialized Lexicographies, a specialized dictionary, also referred to as a technical dictionary, is a dictionary that focuses upon a specific subject field. The simplest dictionary, a defining dictionary, provides a core glossary of the simplest meanings of the simplest concepts.