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April 9, 2009

Since the beginning of this year, the blog Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary has been posting a word, image, and definition from the first edition of one of the first codified dictionary of the everyday English language every day in honor of Samuel Johnson’s three hundredth birthday.

Even a cursory glance at Dr. Johnson’s dictionary reveals that his vocabulary was vastly different that ours– many of his words are no longer in use and even more of the words he defines have shifted in meaning. The glaring differences are interesting and, occasionally, a reader will come across a word that is, frankly, hilarious.

Today’s entry is the word ‘grammaticaster.’

GRAMMATICA’STER. n.s. [Latin.] A mean verbal pedant;
a low grammarian.
I have not vexed their language with the doubts, the re-
marks, and eternal triflings of the French grammaticasters.
Rymer’s Tragedies of the last Age.

I can imagine an English-loving musician (maybe, say, Colin Meloy) naming his guitar a grammaticaster and getting down with it.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 9, 2009 4:38 pm

    I was going to comment and leave a joke using the name “grammaticaster” and elude to a guitar. But, you beat me to the punch. As it is, The sentence example of how one might use the term grammaticaster sounds exactly like something Colin might sing. I can see that pretty clearly. And I laugh at the thought of it.

  2. April 9, 2009 5:46 pm

    When I enjoy reading post like this, I truly realize that I am a nerd. Speaking of words coming and going over time, I am pretty good for creating my own — usually with an ism at the end.

  3. April 9, 2009 7:44 pm

    What good scholar doesn’t make up words with frequency? Not one worth his or her salt, is what I say!

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