Google celebrates Samuel Johnson’s 308th birthday with a doodle
English poet, essayist and lexicographer Dr Samuel Johnson is credited with putting together the most famous dictionary: Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Languagebooks Updated: Sep 18, 2017 13:08 IST
What do you do when you want to check a fact or even a spelling? Google it, right? But long before the search engine became a verb, most people looked up dictionaries.
English poet, essayist and lexicographer Dr Samuel Johnson is credited with putting together the most famous dictionary. His Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755 after nine years of hard work. And on his 308th birthday on Monday, Google celebrated his contributions to the English language and literature with a dictionary doodle.
Described as “one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship” by critics, Johnson’s dictionary had a lasting impact on Modern English. Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language was the go-to dictionary for the next 150 years, till the Oxford English Dictionary was published in 1928. Johnson decided to work on the dictionary after being approached by a group of publishers for the same.
Dr Johnson’s father was a bookseller and Johnson was born on September 18, 1709, in the family home above his father’s bookshop in Lichfield, Staffordshire. He is remembered for his contributions to the English language and literature as a poet, essayist, critic, biographer and lexicographer.
His most famous works include an annotated edition of The Plays of William Shakespeare, and the Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets, a collection of biographies and criticism about 17th and 18th-century poets.
Here are some of Johnson’s popular quotes that reveal his wit:
• The world is like a grand staircase, some are going up and some are going down.
• The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.
• Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.
• Dictionaries are like watches, the worst is better than none and the best cannot be expected to go quite true.
• Almost every man wastes part of his life attempting to display qualities which he does not possess.
• It is not true that people are naturally equal for no two people can be together for even a half an hour without one acquiring an evident superiority over the other.
• I look upon every day to be lost, in which I do not make a new acquaintance.