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Thursday, September 5

Madeline Kripke's dictionaries

-an 1888 advertisement for Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Daniel Krieger's article on Narratively describes his interview with Madeline Kripke, the Dame of Dictionaries who shows him her vast dictionary collection. Here are thirteen of them:

1. Webster's Collegiate Dictionary Kripke's parents gave her a copy which started it all

2. The Ladies Dictionary known to be the first dictionary that dealt solely with women's concerns. It's in Gothic script and printed in 1694. Gothic script and 1694? My heart performs a somersault!

3. A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue published in 1785 and written by Captain Francis Grose, it is reportedly one of the first major slang dictionaries in England. Kripke is fond of slang dictionaries.

4. Free Drinks for Ladies with Nuts if you look for humor in a list of words, this absurd sounding dictionary is for you

5. Lexical Evidence from Folk Epigraphy in Western North America: a glossary study in the low element of the English vocabulary have you read or heard somewhere of an investigation of okay and fuck? Columbia professor Allen Walker Read, man behind the said investigation authored this dictionary. The Dame of Dictionaries calls Lexical Evidence... an "extremely dirty book."

6. The Pocket Dictionary of Prison Slanguage published in 1941; written by San Quentin warden Clinton T. Duffy 

7. The Rogue's Lexicon tput together by New York City polic chief George W. Matsell for his colleagues so 'they could understand the cant of the city’s criminals'  

8. Larks of London  by Dick Rambleton; it was published in 1840. It is said that there isn't any other known copies."It's a guide to the underbelly of the city and includes the language of its denizens...."

9. Hep-cats of Jive Talk Dictonary 1945 by Lou Shelly

10. Calepino or Dictionarium printed in 1502, the Latin dictionary is Kripke's oldest book which she calls "a foundation stone in the history of dictionaries."

11Police Gazette 'chock-full of slang'

12.  The Benefits of Farting Explained printed in 1722 by Jonathan Swift, it contains 'detailed taxonomy peppered with unrestrained wordplay'

13Tijuana Bibles– reportedly illegal in the early to mid 20th century, it is filled with satirical erotic comics


  1. Sounds like quote an interesting collection. I have several dictionaries myself -- in English, French and Norwegian. My T13

  2. Sounds interesting. I had no clue. Thanks for sharing.
    The Food Temptress

  3. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. xo


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