What goes into our dictionaries and why? This collection of essays shows how dictionaries today have grown from the small beginnings of English lexicography in Shakespeare's time, and how we are still confronted by difficulties which beset the early compilers. The relationship of bilingual and monolingual dictionaries is a recurring theme, and separate studies are devoted to the problems of dialect words, spelling, the figurative use of language, phrasal verbs, the literary language, common words, archaism and alphabetization. The book includes critical assessments of the great historical dictionaries of Europe, including the OED.
N.E. Osselton has divided his academic career equally between universities in Holland (Groningen, Leiden) and England (Southampton, Newcastle); he has held chairs of English Language in both countries. He was a founder member (and later President) of the European Association for Lexicography and now lives in retirement in Durham.