• History

Today’s Google Doodle Commemorates Dictionary Creator Samuel Johnson

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When Samuel Johnson compiled the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language in 1755, it stood 18 inches tall.

A Dictionary of the English Language took nine years to complete and held its position as the language’s premier dictionary for 150 years, until the Oxford English Dictionary was produced.

Google is on Monday celebrating the 308th birthday of Johnson, who was not the first man to compile and publish a list of English words, but was the first to explain the use of those words.

He completed the work single-handedly, only using assistance to help him copy out illustrative quotes that he found in other texts, and also authored critical editions of Shakespeare and numerous poems.

Google Doodle celebrates Johnson’s achievements with an illustration of him and his book by Sophie Diao, alongside the definition of lexicographer: a writer of dictionaries.

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