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THE ENGLISH LEXICON,
INTERIOVEN WITH THIS DIVISION.
IN the performance of the first task of a lexicographer—the collection of his
When he directs his exertions to ascertain the meaning of words, from a careful
Thus concisely may be stated, and in so small a compass may be described, the very arduous enterprise which a compiler of a Dictionary should undertake to accomplish.
It is necessary, however, to proceed, and with all possible plainness, to the more Principles.
Advertise. general principles which should be pursued in the construction and arrangement English of a Dictionary of the English Language.
The meaning of a word is never known until we discover the sensible object of which it is the name. This meaning may be called the literal.
The first extension of the use of words, from the literal denomination of sensible objects, or actions or operations, is to supposed similar or corresponding objects, or actions or operations in the human mind. This may be called the metaphorical application of the literal meaning. It is not a new or different meaning.
Very various indeed are the applications which are made of words; and the reason of every application should be manifest from the explanation of the literal meaning.
It will be proper to illustrate these principles by an instance of the manner in which they may be reduced to practice :
To Abandon. The etymologist may conclude his researches, when he has traced it to the past participle of the Anglo-Saxon verb Abannan: which past participle, to support the etymology, he must give in all the different forms in which it is written. He sufficiently explains its meaning, when he has said that it means “ To band, or bind; or put in bondage; to leave in, or give up to, to stay or remain in, a state of
bondage or entire subjection."* Applica Words very different in their origin will bear the same application, though the
reason of that application will be different. It will, therefore, be expedient to enumerate the principal words, commonly called synonimous, or which will admit of such similar application. After the above explanation of the word Abandon, must be added, as synonimous, “ To resign, to quit, to desert, to forsake.”
In the present instance it must be observed, that the word, when thus applied, is used simply; that is, without reference to the state of the object resigned, quitted, deserted, forsaken.
Here also will be found an application of the word consequent or inferred from the meaning. That which we abandon, resign, &c. we may be said “ To reject or cast away, to repel or drive away, to banish.”
It will sometimes also appear, that the words of similar application literally, will be different from those admitted metaphorically.
To Abase, for instance: As a synonym to this word when used literally, we employ “ To lower, to depress;" when used metaphorically, “To lower, to degrade, to humble, to disgrace.” Abase your lance. His pride shall be abased.
• Wisdom of Solomon, c. 2, v. 14. She left him not in bonds, &c.
tions of words.