Collection: Dictionary Print

These items all use images of pages from Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary.

About the Webster's Dictionary

In 1801, Noah Webster started working on defining the words that Americans use. He did this because Americans spoke and used words differently than the English, and to help people who lived in different parts of the country to speak and spell the same way.

In his dictionary, Webster used American spellings like “color” instead of the English “colour” and “music” instead of “musick”. He also added American words that weren’t in English dictionaries like “skunk” and “squash.” His first edition, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1806. This book offered brief definitions of about 37,000 words. It took him 22 more years to finish his American Dictionary of the English Language. When he finished in 1828, at the age of 70, Noah’s dictionary defined over 65,000 words.