Johnson's dictionary

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Mon Apr 4 10:15:48 UTC 2005

On Mon, 4 Apr 2005 RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:

> 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
> analyzed).

Yes.  And perhaps even more than the OED they should be consulting
Eighteenth Century Collections Online.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
  Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at     

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