National Dictionary Day: Surprising Facts About The Resource Book

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Saturday is National Dictionary Day and what better way to celebrate than to learn some facts about the reference book?

The United States celebrates National Dictionary Day on October 16 each year in honor of the birthday of Noah Webster, considered the father of the American dictionary, according to Merriam webster.

According to the dictionary website, National Dictionary Day “celebrates the language, emphasizes the importance of learning, and encourages readers to use the dictionary to improve their vocabulary.”

Saturday is National Dictionary Day. The United States celebrates the holiday on October 16 each year in honor of Noah Webster’s birthday. Webster is considered the father of the American dictionary. (iStock)

The website has ways to celebrate, including playing word games like crossword puzzles or word searches, hosting a spelling contest, or learning a new word.

You can also celebrate by reading these interesting facts on the dictionary.

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The first English language dictionary was established in 1604

Robert Cawdry published “A Table Alphabeticall” in 1604, making it the “first monolingual English dictionary ever published”, according to the British Library. The resource book contained approximately 3,000 words and “short, simple descriptions”.

The first English language dictionary was published in 1604 and the first American dictionary was published in 1806. (iStock)

The first English language dictionary was published in 1604 and the first American dictionary was published in 1806. (iStock)

The first American dictionary – “A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language” – was published in 1806 by Noah Webster, according to the Merriam Webster website.

In 1828 Webster published “An American Dictionary of the English Language,” which had 70,000 entries.

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No English dictionary contains all the words of the English language

According to Merriam-Webster, it is silly to rely on a single dictionary to hold all the words in the English language, even though dictionaries “tend to be quite large books.”

“There never was, and never will be, a dictionary that includes all words in English,” Merriam-Webster said on her website.

According to the dictionary, some dictionaries omit words that are outdated or irrelevant to most people.

Microscopic pneumonoultramilicovolcanoconiosis is generally considered to be the longest word in the English language, with 45 letters.  (iStock)

Microscopic pneumonoultramilicovolcanoconiosis is generally considered to be the longest word in the English language, with 45 letters. (iStock)

Words are not decided by lexicographers

According to Merriam Webster website, different dictionaries have different criteria for adding words. However, the general rule for adding or removing a word from the dictionary depends on the data surrounding how often a word is used.

“If enough people use a certain word in a certain way for a while (or if it has substantial currency in a particular field, like medicine), it will be added to a dictionary,” writes Merriam-Webster on its website. .

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The longest word in the English language has 45 letters

Microscopic pneumonoultramilicovolcanoconiosis is generally considered to be the longest word in the English language, with 45 letters. The word refers to lung disease, according to Lexicon.

Other words considered to be among the longest in the dictionary are anti-disestablishmentarianism (a 28-letter word referring to “opposition to a break with an established church”, according to Dictionary.com) and floccinaucinihilipilification (a 29 letter word meaning “the estimation of something as worthless”, according to Dictionary.com).

Eunoia, which means "nice thought" according to Guinness World Records, is the shortest word in the English language which has the five main vowels.  (iStock)

Eunoia, which means “beautiful thought” according to Guinness World Records, is the shortest word in the English language which has all five main vowels. (iStock)

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The shortest word with the five vowels in the English language is only 6 letters long

Eunoia, which means “beautiful thought” according to Guinness World Records, is the shortest word in the English language which has the five main vowels.

Of course, the two shortest words in the entire English language are “I” and “a”, with only one letter each. According to Lexicon, there are 103 two-letter words.


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