Long before, internet became a household phenomenon and Google became an everyday commodity, dictionary had significance in everyone's lives. Gradually after the ascent of the digital era, dictionary lost its spot to Google. Ironically, today the search engine is honouring the father of modern dictionary.
Google often temporarily alters its logo on homepage to celebrate special occasions and anniversaries. Today is the 308th birth anniversary of Samuel Johnson and hence the gaint search engine decided to mark the occasion with a dictionary doodle. The British lexicographer devoted nine year of his life to compile words and its meaning in a single book. It is said that Johnson began working on it only after noon and thought of completing it in three years.
Johnson, born in 1709 in Staffordshire, England to a bookseller and his wife made a dictionary that was nearly 18 inches tall. His Johnson’s: A Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755 and continued to be the premier one for 150 years till Oxford English Dictionary took its place in 1928. His contribution to the English literature and language has been defined as ''one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship''. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography describes him as ''arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history''. He is also remembered as a poet, essayist, critic and biographer.
He didn't just explained the words but his work also provided an insight into the era's culture. His entries were entertaining as well. For example- dull means not exhilaterating (sic); not delightful; as, to make dictionaries is dull work. Similarly he also defined his profession of lexicographer in an amusing way. Lexicographer- A writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge that busies himself in tracing the original, and detailing the signification of words. The first edition which contained just 42,773 entries was reportedly sold at £4 10s which is worth Rs 30,500, today as per Indian value.