Did you know why Feb 1st is important? Because the first volume of the Oxford Dictionary was published, A to Ant in 1884. This is what I read at Wiki. I’m doing the cut and paste thing so you can follow the links and learn more. Winter is boring folks, a good time to learn new things.
“The dictionary began as a Philological Society project of a small group of intellectuals in London (and unconnected to Oxford University)::103–4,112 Richard Chenevix Trench, Herbert Coleridge, and Frederick Furnivall, who were dissatisfied with the then-current English dictionaries. In June 1857, they formed an “Unregistered Words Committee” to search for words that were unlisted or poorly-defined in current dictionaries. In November, Trench’s report was not a list of unregistered words; instead, it was the study On Some Deficiencies in our English Dictionaries, which identified seven distinct shortcomings in contemporary dictionaries:
- Incomplete coverage of obsolete words
- Inconsistent coverage of families of related words
- Incorrect dates for earliest use of words
- History of obsolete senses of words often omitted
- Inadequate distinction among synonyms
- Insufficient use of good illustrative quotations
- Space wasted on inappropriate or redundant content.
The Society ultimately realized that the number of unlisted words would be far more than the number of words in the English dictionaries of the 19th century, and shifted their idea from covering only words that were not already in English dictionaries to a larger project. Trench suggested that a new, truly comprehensive dictionary was needed. On 7 January 1858, the Society formally adopted the idea of a comprehensive new dictionary.:107–8 Volunteer readers would be assigned particular books, copying passages illustrating word usage onto quotation slips. Later the same year, the Society agreed to the project in principle, with the title A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (NED).:ix–x”
You got to love those out of the box thinkers. It got us where we are.