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Resource Review: More Latin Dictionaries

May 26, 2010

This post is a bit of a catch-all, following the more detailed discussions of TLL and the standard latin dictionaries, dealing with what Jenkins recommends and what we own at UGA, especially in Main Reference.

Egidio Forcellini wins the prize for Best Name of the Day! (Egidio is derived from the Greek and the etymologically minded will see the connection to the word “goat”; it’s also the name Giles, in English.)  Forcellini’s 18th century Totius Latinitatis Lexicon is in Main Reference at UGA (in the 1965 reprint).  Jenkins (no. 506) describes it as “long the fullest and most complete latin dictionary,” but now superseded by the TLL.  It should be consulted for words not yet reached in the TLL, as it has more examples than the Oxford Latin Dictionary.

Jenkins includes two etymological dictionaries of latin: Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue latine, histoire des mots by Ernout and Meillet (no. 504; at the Repository, our offsite storage facility, which seems unfortunate to me) and Lateinisches etymologisches worterbuch by Walde and Hoffman (no. 521, also at the Repository.)  Both of these are described as commendable works, with the former stronger on the latin and the latter covering Indo-European roots in greater detail, and having longer entries in general.

English-latin dictionaries are not heavily used since the decline of  latin prose composition as a part of the curriculum, so it is not a surprise to find UGA’s copy of the standard work discussed by Jenkins (no. 515), Copious and Critical English-Latin Dictionary, at the Repository. (I must say I love the specificity of the title – it’s not just any old English-Latin Dictionary; it’s both Copious AND Critical!)

The only remaining latin dictionary discussed by Jenkins covers the late period (200-600CE), and I will discuss it in a future post with medieval latin dictionaries, of which we have several on the Reference shelves.

A fun work we have in Main Reference and the stacks is Orbis Pictus Latinus, an illustrated dictionary of latin, that seems like it would be both a lot of fun and a good teaching tool for beginners, at both the secondary and undergraduate levels.  The entire book (even the introduction) is in latin, requiring the student to use her existing latin skills to decipher the definitions of new words.  It’s a charming book, and still in print in Germany and available used in this country.

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One comment

  1. […] (pdf).  It includes  Du Cange, Souter and Blaise (above) as well as Forcellini (discussed here) and Lewis & Short (discussed here), and a few other dictionaries, including historical (late […]



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