[Ads-l] help wanted: information on a mid-18th C English dictionary

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Tue Sep 28 16:40:30 UTC 2021

David Block, who has done remarkable research into the prehistory of
baseball, posted this to another site:
"BASEBALL, (From base and ball) A rural game in which the person striking
the ball must run to his base or goal."
Additionally, the dictionary lists the following as one of its definitions
for the word "base":
BASE "A rural play, also called baseball."

These entries come from a dictionary entitled "A General Dictionary of the
English Language, Compiled with the Greatest Care from the Best Authors and
Dictionaries Now Extant." Its authors are "A Society of Gentlemen" and it
was published in London in 1768.

It of course would be nice to know something about this book.  It seems to
have fallen with a thud when published.  It has been microfilmed as part of
the immense collection of 18th C books in English, and from that has been
digitized in ECCO, but there are danged few paper copies kicking around.  I
have searched 2 files of 18th C English journals, and have not found
anything resembling a review, nor even an announcement from the publisher
that it had been issued.

Is there a stupefyingly thorough history of 18th C dictionaries that might
have a page on it?  Or any other ideas?

George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much since then.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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