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A Dictionary of the English Language

A Dictionary of the English Language, the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language, as compiled by Samuel Johnson, appeared in print in 1755. As of 2002 a first edition might sell for $25,000 to $30,000, but many later editions and facsimiles have appeared.

The dictionary responded to a large extent to a widely-felt need for stability in the language. Work on the dictionary lasted for about eight or nine years. An important innovation was to illustrate the meanings by literary quotation. Most frequently, Johnson quoted Shakespeare, Milton and Dryden.

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