lex·​i·​cog·​ra·​pher | \ ˌlek-sə-ˈkä-grə-fər How to pronounce lexicographer (audio) \

Definition of lexicographer

: an author or editor of a dictionary

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Did You Know?

Today, we're looking at a word that is dear to our hearts: lexicographer. The ancient Greeks were some of the earliest makers of dictionaries; they used them mainly to catalog obsolete terms from their rich literary past. To create a word for writers of dictionaries, the Greeks sensibly attached the suffix -graphos, meaning "writer," to lexikon, meaning "dictionary," to form lexikographos, the direct ancestor of the English word lexicographer. Lexikon, which itself descends from Greek lexis (meaning "word" or "speech"), also gave us lexicon, which can mean either "dictionary" or "the vocabulary of a language, speaker, or subject."

Examples of lexicographer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Shortz, like a lexicographer, makes the ultimate call on whether an entry is significant enough to include in a puzzle that people will still be solving in reprinted or archived form years after its initial run. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Crosswords Came of Age in the 2010s," 31 Dec. 2019 Peter Sokolowski, a lexicographer and Merriam-Webster's editor at large, said that Merriam-Webster doesn't set out to capture the zeitgeist in its words of the year lists, like some other dictionaries and linguistic organizations do. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "What Merriam-Webster's words of the year say about the past decade," 21 Dec. 2019 While changes in vocabulary happen fairly often, the grammar of a language rarely changes, said Paz Battaner, a lexicographer and member of the Royal Spanish Academy. Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post, "Teens in Argentina are leading the charge to eliminate gender in language," 5 Dec. 2019 Surprising histories lurk in the bellies of sharks and the lives of lexicographers. Julian Lucas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 25 Nov. 2019 Indeed, the spark for nationalist movements has often been historians, writers, lexicographers, and folklorists who celebrated and promoted vernacular languages and excavated a glorious literary past. Rich Lowry, National Review, "Yes, the English Language Is Important," 10 Nov. 2019 According to Jonathan Dent, a lexicographer at the OED, uprising became more popular in the wake of the documentary Stonewall Uprising, which was released in 2010. Time, "Was Stonewall a Riot, an Uprising or a Rebellion?," 24 June 2019 Webster, the famous lexicographer, His tie-in with this week’s featured home is strengthened by the fact that the family that bought Webster’s house and the surrounding 11 acres of land in 1910 ultimately built the stately home featured here. courant.com, "Property of the Week: 215 South Main Street, West Hartford," 28 June 2019 All of these are quotes in the last 48 hours from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will soon have to hire a lexicographer to come up with new ways to say that Mr. Trump is committing impeachable offenses. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A ‘Constitutional Crisis’," 9 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lexicographer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lexicographer

1625, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lexicographer

Late Greek lexikographos, from lexikon + Greek -graphos writer, from graphein to write

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The first known use of lexicographer was in 1625

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Last Updated

8 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lexicographer.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lexicographer. Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on lexicographer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lexicographer

Spanish Central: Translation of lexicographer

Nglish: Translation of lexicographer for Spanish Speakers

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