Newly type-set reprint of A Concise Dictionary of Middle English (1888) by the prominent Middle English scholars and lexicographers Rev. A. L. Mayhew, M.A. of Wadham College, Oxford, and Rev. Walter W. Skeat, Litt.D.; LL.D. Edin.; M.A. Oxon., Ellington and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon in the University of Cambridge. This Dictionary will easily pave the way for a clearer understanding of the birth of modern English while providing the medieval English reader with an invaluable resource for tackling all of the important English texts published between 1150 to 1580 A.D. Originally published by Oxford at the Clarendon Press, this new edition should not be confused with other significantly pricier "facsimile" editions or "scanned" editions which do not preserve the original Middle English and Greek alphabet characters of the original book.
Walter Skeat (1835-1912) was one of the greatest investigators of the roots of the English language, and his remarkable scholarship was instrumental in the revival of the great works of early English Literature. His astonishing detective work into the origins and development of the world's most widely used language provides an unsurpassed guide to its flexibility and richness.
This dictionary will serve as an aid to anyone reading Middle English. Professor Skeat wrote in his original Preface that this work is "intended to meet, in some measure, the requirements of those who wish to make some study of Middle-English, and who find a difficulty in obtaining such assistance as will enable them to find out the meanings and etymologies of the words most essential to their purpose." The small size and cost of this bound print edition makes it both useful and affordable to casual readers, high school and college students, and even scholars. Anyone interested in medieval studies will benefit from adding this little wonder of a resource to their personal library.
From the Preface. The present work is intended to meet, in some measure, the requirements of those who wish to make some study of Middle-English, and who find a difficulty in obtaining such assistance as will enable them to find out the meanings and etymologies of the words most essential to their purpose. The best Middle-English Dictionary, that by Dr. Matzner of Berlin, has only reached the end of the letter H; and it is probable that it will not be completed for many years. The only Middle-English Dictionary that has been carried on to the end of the alphabet is that by the late Dr. Stratmann, of Krefeld. This is a valuable work, and is indispensable for the more advanced student. However, the present work will still supply a deficiency, as it differs from Stratmann's Dictionary in many particulars. We have chosen as our Main Words, where possible, the most typical of the forms or spellings of the period of Chaucer and Piers Plowman; in Stratmann, on the other hand, the form chosen as Main Word is generally the oldest form in which it appears, frequently one of the twelfth century. Moreover, with regard to authorities, we refer in the case of the great majority of our forms to a few, cheap, easily accessible works, whereas Stratmann's authorities are mainly the numerous and expensive publications of the Early English Text Society. Lastly, we have paid special attention to the French element in Middle-English, whereas Stratmann is somewhat deficient in respect of words of French origin *. The book which has generally been found of most assistance to the learner is probably Halliwell's Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words; but this is not specially confined to the Middle-English period, and the plan of it differs in several respects from that of the present work. The scope of this volume will be best understood by an explanation of the circumstances that gave rise to it. Some useful and comparatively inexpensive volumes illustrative of the Middle-English period have been issued by the Clarendon Press; all of which are furnished with glossaries, explaining all the important words, with exact references to the passages wherein the words occur. In particular, the three useful hand-books containing Specimens of English (from 1150 down to 1580) together supply no less than sixty-seven characteristic extracts from the most important literary monuments of this period; and the three glossaries to these books together fill more than 370 pages of closely-printed type in double columns. The idea suggested itself that it would be highly desirable to bring the very useful information thus already collected under one alphabet, and this has now been effected. At the same time, a reference has in every case been carefully given to the particular Glossarial Index which registers each form here cited, so that it is perfectly easy for any one who consults our book to refer, not merely to the particular Index thus noted, but to the references given in that Index; and so, by means of such references, to find every passage referred to, with its proper context...."
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Differentiated book- It has a historical context with research of the time-A Concise Dictionary of Middle English from A.D. 1150 to 1580 by Walter W. Skeat.The purpose of realizing this historical context is to approach the understanding of a historical epoch from the elements provided by the text. Hence the importance of placing the document in context. It is necessary to unravel what its author or authors have said, how it has been said, when, why and where, always relating it to its historical moment.Walter William Skeat, FBA (21 November 1835 - 6 October 1912) was the pre-eminent British philologist of his time. He was instrumental in developing the English language as a higher education subject in the United Kingdom.Skeat was born in London to architect William Skeat, of Perry Hill, Sydenham, later of Mount Street, Park Lane, City of Westminster, and his wife Sarah, daughter of Timothy Bluck. The Skeat family were a branch of an ancient Surrey family, and were resident in the parish of St George Hanover Square since the 1700s.] He was educated at King's College School (Wimbledon), Highgate School, and Christ's College, Cambridge. He became a fellow at Christ's College in July 1860.In 1860, Skeat was ordained an Anglican deacon and married Bertha Clara. In December 1860, he became a curate at East Dereham, where he served during 1861 and most of 1862. From 1862 to 1863, Skeat served as the curate at Godalming, Surrey. In October 1864, he returned to Cambridge University as a mathematics lecturer, a position he held until 1871.Skeat soon developed an interest in the history of the English language. In 1870, Skeat and Henry Bradshaw collaborated on an edition on Geoffrey Chaucer for the University of Oxford. However, the project fell through when Bradshaw failed to keep his commitment. In 1894, Skeat published a six-volume edition on Chaucer; a supplementary volume, Chaucerian Pieces, was published in 1897.