G. & C. Merriam Company.

Have we a national standard of English lexicography? or, Some comparison of the claims of Webster's dictionaries, and Worcester's dictionaries online

. (page 3 of 6)
Online LibraryG. & C. Merriam CompanyHave we a national standard of English lexicography? or, Some comparison of the claims of Webster's dictionaries, and Worcester's dictionaries → online text (page 3 of 6)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

tion is wholly aside from Byron's meaning, and defines an adjective by an adverb.

Euphuism, Euphuist — Euphuism is defined by Euphemism ! ! and Euphemism by Euphu-
ism ; and the Edinburgh Review and Scott are given as authorities. The editor certainly
mistook the meaning of one of these words, if he had a clear view of either. Did he verify
his mistake by a reference to his authorities ?

Gargiion is given, on the authority of Quincy, as " an exudation from a bruise which indu-
rates into a hard tumor." Quincy has no such word, nor is there any such in the language,
and it is obvious, that somebody, from whom Mr. Worcester took the word, wrote gargiion
for ganglion.

Fluvialisi is defined, " one who treats of rivers." Tliis word, in Geology, properly denotes
one who accounts for the origin of certain strata, in a peculiar way.

Ephah is defined to be 15 cubic inches, which would be less than half a pint, and yet a
Hin, which is the tenth of an Ephah, is defined as five quarts. The fact is that the Ephah
contains, according to the lowest computation, nearly a bushel, and according to Gesenius,
almost a bushel and a half, or 2,600 Paris inches.

Homer is defined, " a Hebrew measure, of about 3 pints." It was the largest Hebrew
measure, containing 10 baths, as stated in the Scriptures, or more than 70 gallons.

Kraal is " a rude hut or cabin of Hottentots, with conical or round tops." It is a village
of such huts, never a single one.

Saddle-Cloth is defined, " A cover for a saddle :" if it ever means this, wliich we question,
this is not the more common signification.

Sophisier is defined, " An undergraduate." But a freshman in the English university is
also an undergraduate, but not a .sophister.

Sophist is defined, as one of its meanings, " An undergraduate at the University of Cambridge,
England ; a sophister." Is sophist ever used in this sense ? Soph, is the usual abbreviation.

Shingle is defined, a thin board to cover houses ; a sort of tiling. This was designed for
English readers probably.

Neology — " A term applied to a new system of Interpretation of the Scriptures in Germany."
How much information does this convey ! Why not tell what system of interpretation ?"

Instances like these might be given to a very great extent.



As a simple illustration, we take a single word, almost at random, fi'om the two
books, and place them with the respective definitions given side by side.

Webster. Worcester.

GRACE, n, [Fr. grace; It. grazia ; Sp. gracia ;
Ir. grasa ; from the L. gratia, which is formed on
the Celtic ; W. rhad, grace, a blessing, gratuity.
It coincides in origin with Fr. gre ; Eng. agree,
congruous, and ready. The primary sense of gra-
ins is free, ready, quick, willing, prompt, from
advancing. Class Ed. See Grade.]

1. Favor; good-will; kindness ; disposition to
oblige another ; as, a grant made as an act of

Or each, or all, may win a lady's grace. Dryden.

2. Appropriately, the free, unmerited love and
favor of God, the spring and source of all the
benefits men receive from him.

And if by ^ace then it is no more of works. — Rom. xi.

3. Favorable influence of God ; divine influ-
ence or the influence of the Spirit, in renewing
the heart and restraining from sin.

My s*rrtcc is sufficient for thee. — 2 Cor. xii.

4. The application of Christ's righteousness to
the sinner.

5. A state of reconciliation to God. Rom.v. 2.

6. Virtuous or religious alFection or disposi-
tion, as a liberal disposition, faith, meekness,
humility, patience, &c., proceeding from divine

7. Spiritual instruction, improvement, and ed-
ification. Eph. iv. 29.

8. Apostleship, or the qualifications of an
apostle. Eph. iii. 8.

9. Eternal life ; final salvation. 1 Pet. i. 13.

10. The gospel.

Receive not the grace of God in vain.— 2 Cor. vi.

11. Favor ; mercy ; pardon.

Bow and sue for grace

With suppliant knee. JSilton,

12. Favor conferred.

I should therefore esteem it a great favor and grace.


13. Privilege.

To few great Jupiter imparts this grace. Dryden.

14. That in manner, deportment, or language,
which renders it appropriate and agreeable ;
suitableness ; elegance or ease with appropriate
dignity. We say, a speaker delivers his address
with grace ; a man performs his part with grace.

Grace was in all her steps. Milton.

Her purple habit sits with such a grace.
On her smooth shoulders. Dryden.

15. Natural or acquired excellence ; any en-
dowment that recommends the possessor to oth-
ers ; as the graces of wit and learning.


16. Beauty ; embellishment ; in general, what-
ever adorns and recommends to favor; some-
times a single beauty.

I pass their form and every charming grace, Dryden,

17. Beauty deified, among pagans, a goddess.
The Graces were three in number, Aglaia, Thalia,
and Euphrosyne, the constant attendants of Ve-
nus. Lempriere.

The Loves delighted, and the Graces played. Prior.

18. Virtue physical ; as, the grace of plants.
[Not used.} Shak.

GRACE, n. \gratia, L. ; gi-ace, Fr.] The favor
and love of God towards any person ; unmerited
favor ; kindness ; favorable influence on the
heart ; distinctively, divine influence ; the effect
of divine influence ; virtue ; goodness ; pardon ;
mercy; privilege; natural excellence; embel-
lishment ; recommendation ; beauty ; ornament ;
flower; highest perfection : — the title of a duke
or archbishop, formerly of the king : — a short
prayer said before and after meat. — {Fine Arts.)
A quality arising from elegance of form and at-
titude, combined. — Days of grace, (Com.) cer-
tain days (commonly three in number) that a
bill may remain unpaid beyond the time named
in it. See Graces.


Webster (continued.)

19. The title of a duke or an archbishop, and
formerly of the king of England, meaning, your
goodness or clemency. His Grace the Duke of
York. Your Grace will please to accept my

20. A short prayer before or after meat ; a
blessing asked, or thanks rendered.

21. In music, graces are ornamental notes at-
tached to principal ones. Brande.

22. In Eiiglish universities, an act, vote, or de-
cree, of the government of the institution.

Day of grace ; in theology, time of probation,
when an offer is made to sinners.

Days of grace ; in commerce, the days immedi-
ately following the day when a bill or note be-
comes due, which days are allowed to the debtor
or payer to make payment in. In Great Britain
and the United States, the days of grace are
three, but in other countries more, the usages of
merchants being different.

The same excellences of clearness and precision of definitions, purity of Pronun-
ciation, &c., &c., found in Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, pertain also to his
School Dictionaries.

We can not, perhaps, more appropriately close our remarks, than by transcribing
the following recent voluntary testimony of Prof. Stowe, formerly of Ohio, and now
a resident of Massachusetts, long and extensively known as taking a deep concern in
every thing pertaining to the educational interests of the country, and who, under
date of May 5th, 1854, says: —

" I am decidedly in favor of Webster, for the following reasons, to wit :
" 1. Webster is the most uniformly analogical and self-consistent. '
" 2. His system falls in most completely with the tendencies of the language ; and
if in any thing he goes beyond present usage, it is in the right direction, and the
usage will soon overtake him.

"3. He has present possession of the ground more than any other one. In the
United States he is the authority every where, except in Boston ; and even there,
more than any other one. In England he has more authority than any other one,
and is continually gaining.

"4. He is the great American jMlologist.^ the most learned and devoted scholar in
his special department, that the English language knows ; and for this reason, other
things being equal, he deserves the preference.

" 5. If we would have uniformity, we must adopt Webster, for he can not be dis-
placed ; but others may be."



WEBSTER'S DICTIONARY, University Edition.




Forming a complete Series of Standard Dictionaries of the Language, securing uniformity in the use of Lan-
guage, as yi&W as in Orthography and Pronunciation.

^SCf The DEFINITIONS in Webster's School Dictionaries are taken from his large work, and combine the
same excellences, in this and other features, as does the latter.

5^3" One million copies of the Speller are sold annually.

^SCT" The leading Series of the School Books published in this country are based upon Dr. Webster's system.

9i/=His great work is acknowledged, as well in Great Britain as this country, and wherever the English Lan-
guage is spoken, to be superior to any other.

0:5" Dr. Webster's Educational Works, it is believed, have done more to secure the uniformity of pronuncia-
tion and use of language, and freedom from provincialisms, so remarkable in this country, especially when the
great influx of foreigners from all nations is considered, than any other cause.

^^ The attention of the friends of Pojiular Education, Superintendents, Teachers, and Parents is so'iicited to
the importance of perpetuating this purity by the use of such a National Standard.



Sweeping and random assertions are easily made; but /ac<s are not so to be disposed of.
Certain publishers, to subserve purposes of their own, having given wide circulation to a state-
ment, that " all literary men of note in our country" and others in different parts of our own
land, and the world, had no acquaintance with Webster's Dictionary ; the Ibllovving facts
are given in I'eply : — 1st. The London Imperial Dictionary recently issued in Great Britain,
prepared with great care and expense, and designed for wide circulation in that Empire, is
avowedly based on Webster, copies it almost verbatim, and pronounces it " the most excellent
at present in circulation." Other Dictionaries published in Great Britain take similar ground.
2d. A set of stereotype plates of Worcester's large dictionary having been sent out to London,
the London publisher, in order to give it character, and insure its success, advertises it as " WEB-
STER'S Critical and Pronouncing Dictionary, &c., enlarged and revised by Worcester." On
the title-page Webster is placed first in large type, and Worcester follows in another line, in
smaller type, and the book is lettered on the back, Webster's and Worcester's Dictionary ! !"
And it is now sold under this guise in Great Britain and on the continent of Europe.

In like manner, in the Boston Courier of March '29, 1854, in an article apparently suggest-
ed by the same interested party, it is affirmed, " The reputation and authority of Webster is
declining wherever Worcester has appeared by his side." In reply to this statement the follow-
ing FACTS are submitted : — In answer to an inquiry, " What is the proportion of your sale of
Webster^s Dictionaries^ compared with all others 1 What of Webster and Worcester V
addressed to leading Booksellers in all parts of the United States, the following, among others
of similar import, from nearly one hundred ditTerent houses are given. JSJow aside from
a small school dictionary, issued by Dr. Webster in 1806, and long since passed away, Wor-
cester has been before the world as a Lexicographer about the same time as Webster, having
edited Todd's Johnson, published in 1827 ; Webster's large work appearing in 1828, and
Worcester following with his Comprehensive soon after. Is not the present use of their res-
pective works a fair test of the public appreciation ?

The comparison, it will be noticed, is with all others — ^not Worcester's only. Yet there are
others besides Webster's, which sell much more than W^orcester's, doubtless, as Walker's.

The inference from these facts, is obvious.

I. J^ew York, March 28, 1854.
Messrs. G. & C. Merriam : — Of small Dictionaries, we sell about as many Webster as of all others. Of the

large, nine-tenths of all we sell are Webster. A. S. BARNES & CO.

a. JVew York, March -27, 1854.

Our sale of Webster's Dictionaries is about twenty to one of all others. We sell no other large Dictionary.
Only three Worcester's large 8vo. have been sold by us the past year. We sell some Walker 8vo., but only to the
Canada market. IVISON & PHINNEY.

3. JSTcw York, HOth March, 185i.
Estimate of numbers sold during the year ]853 : 600 Walker, 150 Cobb, 250 Worcester (all sizes), 100 Cobb's

and Johnson's Pocket, 6,250 Webster, all sizes — showing Webster six to one of all ntiiers, nearly.


4. J\rew York, March 25, 1854.
Our sales of Webster's Dictionary are about three-fourths of all we sell. D. BURGESS & CO.

B. JVew York, Jlpril 17, 18.*i4.

Our sales of Dictionaries for the year 1853, as nearly as we can ascertain, were — Webster's whole series, 2,317 ;
Worcester's, do. 42], all others 1,375. CLARK, AUSTIN & SMITH.

6. Mew York, .Upril 19, 1S54.
My annual sale is three-foarths of Webster's to one-fourth of Worcester's, and nearly in the same proportion

to all others. ROBERT B. COLLINS.

7. JVero ForA:, 47no. 19, 1854.
We may observe that Webster's Dictionaries are i/ie Dictionaries now, sell more, or are more generally used

than others, — but as to proportion, we can not very readily determine. S. S. & W. WOOD.

8. J^ew York,JlprU U),185i.
1st. We presume we sell ^ue times as many Webster's as of Worcester's, and perhaps rather more, we can not

say positively. 2d. We sell scarcely any others except a few of Walker's and occasionally a few of Fi.eid's.


9. JVcw York, ^pril 20, 1854.

It appears to be the general opinion in our establishment, that our average annual sale of the whole series of
Webster's and Worcester's Dictionaries is about _^/ty copies of Webster to one of Worcester.


10. _ J^ew York, Jlpril '2i,\8H.
Our sales of Webster's series of Dictionaries, in comparison with sales of Worcester's wliole series is at least

five of Webster's to one of Worcester's, and probably four of Webster to one of all other Dictionaries of the
English language together. W. K. CORNWELL.

II. Boston, Jipril 22, 1854.
As near as we can judge, our sales for Worcester's Comprehensive Dictionary, nearly double our sales fur Web-
ster's small Dictionaries (Ssizes) ; Worcester's 8vo. we sell about the same number as of Webster's 8vo.; of Webster's
4to. we sell about three times as many as we do of the two 8vo. Dictionaries together. B. B. MUSSEY & CO.

13. Boston, 26th Jlpril, 18.54.

Our clerks say that we sell nearly /our times as many Webster's largest Dictionaries as Worcester's; and about
as many of Webster's small Dictionaries as of Worcester's. TAPPAN & WIIITTEJIORE.

13. BoHon, .Ipril 20, 1854.

My annual sale of Webster's Dictionaries (4to and 8vo.) amounts to 1,600 copies to 50 copies of Worcester's
large in the same time. To your 2d proposition I will say that I sell of Webster's Dictionuries five to one of all


18 SALE OF Webster's dictionakies

!*• Portland, Jlpril 6, 1854.

We sell one hundred Webster's Quarto to one Worcester's 8vo., and ten Webster's Common School Dictionary

to one Worcester's Elementary. SANBORN & CARTER.

15. Worcester, ^pril 1^, \»iA.

We have sold only six copies Worcester's Octavo Dictionary for two years. We sell, each, 150 Elementary and

Comprehensive per year. About 100 Webster's small, about 50 copies Octavo, 140 Webster Unabridged.

16. Worcester, Jlpril 19, 1854.

My sales are nearly as follows : — Webster's Quarto and 8vo., I sell exclusively, and none of Worcester's, not
having demand. — 1 sell Worcester's School — viz. Comprehensive and Elementary ten to one of Webster's School.
1 think I sell of Webster's doi.ble the quantity of all others. EDWARD LIVERMORE.

1 J"- .Amherst, Mass., .Spril, 1854.

The sales of Webster's Dictionaries are more than a hundred to one of Worcester's. We sell no Dictionaries
besides Webster's and Worcester's. J. S. & C. ADAMS.

18. J<rorv}ich, Conn., Jipril 15, ISoi.

Ot English Dictionaries we keep for sale only Webster's and Worcester's. Previous to the last year nine-
tenths ot the Dictionaries sold by us have been Webster's: the proportion is probably more rather than less
During the past year we have had no or comparatively no call for Worcester's — and for the last five years no de
mand tor Worcester's larger work. L. & E. EDWARDS.

19- . . Hartford, Wth March, 185i.

Webster's Dictionaries are almost the only ones I sell : with the exception of a very few Worcester's, entirely sa


30. J\rew Haven, March 28, 1854.
In reply to your question, " What is the proportion you sell of Webster's Dictionaries compared with all

others V we can only say that while our sales of Webster's are by hundreds per annum — that of all others
(English) are probably not a half dozen. DURRIE & PECK.

31. Brattleboro' , Jlpril 18, 1854.
We sell nothing but Webster's in the large form. JOSEPH STEEN.

33. Phildelphia, Jlpril 14, 1854.

As near as random calculation can give it, our sale of Webster's Dictionary (whole series) is about /orty to
one of Worcester's, and the sale of Webster's is about equal to all others in our business. CLARK & HESSER.

33. Philadelphia, Jlpril 7, 1854.
About twenty Webster to one Worcester, about ten Webster to one of all others (Hurrah for Webster.)


34. Philadelphia, 5 Jlpril, 1854.
As far as the larger Dictionaries are concerned, we sell Webster^s almost exclusively ; certainly 50 Webster's

8vo. and Quarto, to one Worcester's 8vo. — smaller, we sell as many Webster as all others, at least, such is our
impression. H. C. PECK & THEO. BLISS.

35. Philadelphia, into. 5, 1854.
Respected Friends, — Your favor is at hand. In reply we can only presume an estimate of the sales we make of

Webster and Worcester, which is about one-fourth of Worcester to Webster ; more of Webster than all others.
Very Respectfully Your Friends, URIAH HUNT & SON.

36. Pittsburgh, March 30, 1854.
Our sales of the Webster series of Dictionaries are in the proportion of about two to one of any others. We

sell more of Walker's primary than Webster, but the sale of the latter is steadily increasing. KAY & CO.

37. Baltimore, Jlpril 6, 1854.
We have always sold Webster's Dictionary to the exclusion of all others. JAS. S. WA'TERS.

38. Richmond, Fa., Jlpril 7, 1854.

I dispose of 50 Webster's Unabridged to one of any other kind. I have not sold a copy of Worcester's for two
years, except School Editions. In the statement above, I make no reference to School Editions of Walker and
Webster, of which I sell a large quantity. GEO. M. WEST.

39. Richmond, Jlpril 18, 1854.
My annual sales of Webster's Dictionaries (all editions) are about in the proportion five to one of Worcester's

and Walker's, and two to one of all others ; and forty Webster's Unabridged to one of all other large Dictiona-

30. Washington City, Jlpril 5, 1854.

I suppose we sell half a dozen copies of Webster's Dictionary for every one of Worcester's, may be twelve for
one would be a nearer estimate. As for all other Dictionaries, (supposing you to mean English Dictionaries,) I
dare say it might be said that we sell as many of Webster, as of aW others put together. FRANCK TAYLOR.

31. JLouisville, Ky., March 31, 1854.
We suppose that we sell about 5,000 of Webster's annually, and say one-fifth (1,000) of all other kinds.

33. Louisville, March 3], 1854.

Gkntlemkn, — I have yours of 27th inst., in regard to my sales of Webster's Dictionaries compared to all others.
Webster's Quarto, has no rival— (that you know ;) of the 8vo. I sell about ten to one of Worcester's or Walker's;
of the High School about twenty-five to one of Reid's or Worcester's 12mo. ; and of the School, about one-third
more than of Walker's. HENRY C. MORTON.

33. Raleigh, JV. C, .Bpril 22, 1854.
Of the whole editions, I think about four Webster to one of Worcester. Of the 4to and 8vo, editions I think

about twenty Webster to one of Worcester. Webster in proportion to all others, about two (school editions) of
Webster to one of all others. Of the 4to and 8vo. editions, about eighteen Webster to one of all others.


34. St. Louis, Jlpril 1, 1854.
Mine-tenths of all the Dictionaries I sell are Webster's. H. CRITTENDEN.

35. Jfew Orleans, 5th Jlpril, 1854.

1 should judge as near as possible as many of Webster's as oi all others, or say six of Webster's to one of any
other. J. B. STEEL.

36. St. Louis, March 30, 1854.
We sell at least nine-tenth.i more of Webster's than we do of all others put together. We see from our books

that we have received, say 700 copies of Webster's Dictionaries the past year, and not more than a dozen or
two of Walker's or Worcester's. KEITH & WOODS.

37. JVew Orleans, April 10, 1854.
From our own knowledge and what we can learn, the sale of Dictionaries are in favor of Webster's series by a

large proportion. In a few instances we have had calls for Worcester and Walker, but learn that thev are only
used in the country, and Webster is fast taking their place. BURNETT & BOSTWICK.


38. Columbus, Ohio, March 23, 1854.
In this market we are selling Webster's Books to the almost entire exclusion of all others. Twenty-five Wor-
cester's 12mo. and ten 8vo. Dictionaries, comprising our sale for the past year in that work, and we have not
thought it advisable to buy any others. J. H. RILEV & CO.

39. Cincinnati, Wth March, 1854.
In answer to your letter of inquiry, of the 25th inst., we state that the sale of Webster's Dictionaries in the

West has been steadily increasing for the last two years ; and we believe one hundred copies of Webster's are
now sold in the Western States to five copies of all others. We attribute this increase to the well established
determination of educators, and of a majority of good writers, to adhere to Webster as the standard authority in
orthography and defining. W. B. SMITH & CO.

Another of the largest jobbing houses in Cincinnati says : — " JVine-tenths of our sales of Dictionaries are of
Webster's series."

4:1. Cincinnati, .^pril 5, 1854.

We believe the proportion of Webster's various editions to all others we sell, is about jfttic to one.

4:3. Cincinnati, March. 2i), 1854.

We presume our sales of the various editions of Webster's Dictionaries is one-third greater than all other Dic-
tionaries we sell. APPLEGATE & CO.
4:3. Indianapolis, March 30, 1854.
We have sold over two hundred and fifty Webster's Unabridged to four copies Worcester. We hud six copies
Worcester two years ago, and we have two of them on hand. We sell no other School, Academic, or Univer-
sity, but Webster's. WESTS & STEWART.
4:4:. Indianapolis, March 30, 1854.
Of the comparative number of Webster's Dictionaries sold, we can not speak positively, but we should suppose
it twenty times as great as all others combined. WERDEN & CHAMBERLAIN.
4:5. Dayton, O., Jipril 17, 1854.
We sell no other Dictionary than fTe&ster's, or so few of any other that we can not institute a comparison.

4:6. Dayton, April 18, 1854.

Proportionate sale of Webster's Dictionaries compared with Worcester's is as twelve to one. Proportion of
Webster's compared with all others is as eight to one. The sale of Worcester's work is so limited, that we can
hardly count two in the space of six months. PAYNE & WHEATON.

4:7. Cleveland, March 28, 1854.

Our sales during the past year has been probably as follows : — Webster's 18mo. or School Edition, say 459
Copies; High School 200; Academic, 150; University, 300; Harper's 8vo., 40; Unabridged, 50; Johnson's
Pocket Edition, we may have sold perhaps ten copies: of Walker's 16mo., two copies — got three left ; Wor-
cester's, we have sold two octavo copies and nine of the School Edition. KNIGHT, KING & CO.

48. Cleveland, March 27, 1854.
For the year past five-eig-hths Webster's Dictionaries (all sizes) to three- eighths of all others.

1 3 5 6

Online LibraryG. & C. Merriam CompanyHave we a national standard of English lexicography? or, Some comparison of the claims of Webster's dictionaries, and Worcester's dictionaries → online text (page 3 of 6)