An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary


Jonathan Slocum

We provide a new alphabetic index to an online version of An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, based on the manuscript collections of the late Joseph Bosworth. Edited and enlarged by T. Northcote Toller, M.A. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1898). The content of "Bosworth and Toller" (B&T) has entered the public domain in the U.S. The original online edition was produced by Sean Crist and B. Dan Fairchild et al. of the Germanic Lexicon Project (GLP), who remark, "Bosworth/Toller is the most comprehensive completed dictionary of Old English."

At the present time, this version of B&T excludes the 1921 Supplement by Toller, also reproduced by the Germanic Lexicon Project; further, we exclude material such as the B&T title page, Toller's Preface, various Explanations, etc. We concentrate on the dictionary entries themselves.

Many corrections have been made to the GLP transcription in this LRC version of B&T; for example the lowercase letter þ (thorn) was often transcribed as uppercase Þ, or as the Latin letter p; the B&T letter representing ð (eth) was usually transcribed "literally" as Latin small letter d with stroke, called "d-bar," but often incorrectly as simple d. No doubt, many errors have yet to be discovered. Our goal is to provide an easily accessible HTML version of B&T, indexed in consistent alphabetic order, with clickable hot-links (eventually) where B&T contains cross references. General notes:

  1. B&T's entries were in numerous cases inconsistent w.r.t. alphabetic order (e.g. 'æ' is usually, but not always, sorted as 'ae'); our index, sorted by software, corrects such inconsistencies. However, our index follows B&T's convention of sorting all words that begin with 'þ' or 'ð' separately from those that begin with 't', but otherwise sorting both 'þ' and 'ð' as 'th'.
  2. The HTML version provided by GLP often fails to properly display Anglo-Saxon and other text when it contains special characters (e.g. letters with macrons and other diacritics, or non-Roman letters); our use of Unicode allows proper character rendition, although correction of the GLP transcription (which also, e.g., tended to replace Greek words with the symbol 'GREEK') is incomplete.
  3. Main entries in B&T sometimes encapsulate alternate spellings (e.g. separating them with commas, and/or indicating optional letters with parentheses). The means of indication are inconsistent, and in some cases the intent is not entirely clear (often when square brackets are used); but separate indexing of alternate spellings is effected whenever the original intent can be discerned. Sometimes such spellings fall close together, even adjacent in the index; at other times they may be distant (e.g., eóh vs. íw).
  4. Our version is a work in progress, and error correction etc. may never be complete. Furthermore, B&T tend strongly to use diacritics that look more like acute accents than proper macrons, and yet there are [slight] differences between those and what are apparently intended to be true acutes that render simple mass conversion dangerous; until this confusion is resolved (if ever), the reader must grow accustomed to seeing acute accents where macrons might be expected.
  5. In diphthongs, B&T almost always place [acute] accents over the second vowel where other scholars tend to unite in placing macrons over the first vowel. We not not understand B&T's intent, but follow their convention because these pages are intended to reproduce their work.

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