Johnson's dictionary

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Mon Apr 4 04:01:24 UTC 2005

I think Fred is saying that modern lawyers consult Johnson rather than 
"Webster" because that is what the people who wrote the Constitution would have 
consulted, if anything.

If so, modern lawyers are missing the point of a historical dictionary: they 
obviously ought to be consulting the OED, which takes Johnson into account, 
put looks at far more data than Johnson ever could have (even if he had been 
particularly interested in empirical evidence scientifically assembled an 

In a message dated 4/3/05 10:26:57 PM, fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU writes:

> On Sun, 3 Apr 2005, James C Stalker wrote:
> > Hitchings claims that US lawyers consult Johnson, not Webster, in order to
> > interpret the US Constituition.  Interesting claim.  If Roger is still out
> > there lurking, he might have a comment on that point of view.
> The idea is that in 1787 people would have consulted Johnson rather than
> Webster, since Webster's was not yet published.
> Fred Shapiro

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