Remembering Noah Webster

Noah Webster was born at West Hartford, Connecticut on this day in 1758. He studied at Yale during the Revolution, but was unable to afford to go on to law school so he became a teacher. In 1783 he began a three-volume set of books for teaching English, the first was known as "The Blue-Backed Speller" and sold some 70 million copies. Starting with this project, Webster campaigned for a specific American language rendering "plough" as "plow" and "colour" as "color". His first dictionary was published in 1806, his expanded second dictionary of 70,000 words took him 22 years to write, but was the largest dictionary in any language at the time.  In honor of Mr. Webster’s birth, today’s quotes are on “words.”

“Words, like nature, half reveal and half conceal the soul within.”
     – Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809 – 1892

“All our words from loose using have lost their edge.”
     – Ernest Hemingway, 1899 – 1961

“I must use beautiful words, I never know when I might have to eat them.”
     – Everett McKinley Dirksen, 1896 – 1969

“What is conceived well is expressed clearly, and the words to say it will arrive with ease.”
     – Nicolas Boileau, 1636 – 1711

“Grasp the subject, the words will follow.”
     – Marcius Porcius Cato, 234 – 149 BC

“Nature is a dictionary; one draws words from it.”
     – Eugene Delacroix, 1798 – 1863

“Appearance blinds, whereas words reveal.”
     – Oscar Wilde, 1854 – 1900

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James A. Restucci is the author of this blog. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Internal License.

3 Responses to Remembering Noah Webster

  1. TVNews says:

    So he’s the reason the British look upon our spelling with disdain.

  2. jimr says:

    Libby, thanks for the comment; I agree wholeheartedly with you, “wholeheartedly” yummy [:)]

  3. Libby says:

    I like the quote from Everett Dirksen best. So appropriate coming from a politician I’d say.