What is National Dictionary Day
A dictionary. Photo: macmillandictionaryblog.com

Who is Noah Webster?

Noah Webster was born on October 16, 1758, in West Hartford, Hartford Connecticut, and died on May 28, 1843. He was an American lexicographer, textbook pioneer, and English-language spelling reformer who created the first dictionary in 1840, reported educationworld.

Webster was instrumental in giving American English a dignity and vitality of its own. Both his speller and dictionary reflected his principle that spelling, grammar, and usage should be based upon the living, spoken language rather than on artificial rules. He also made useful contributions as a teacher, grammarian, journalist, essayist, lecturer, and lobbyist.

History of Dictionaries for National Dictionary Day

Early Lexicons, Glossaries, and Non-English Dictionaries

The earliest “dictionaries” we know of are glossaries from the Akkadian Empire (an ancient Mesopotamian civilization). The Urra=hubullu, for instance, is a second millennium BCE cuneiform tablet that lists words in both Sumerian and Akkadian.

Over the years, similar lexicons emerged in various languages, including Chinese, Sanskrit, and Japanese. And medieval Europe produced many glossaries, such as the Catholicon from 1287, which list Latin terms alongside their everyday translations.

The earliest monolingual dictionary, meanwhile, was the Erya, which dates to the third century BCE and included around 4,300 words in Chinese. But in Europe, we have to wait until 1611 and the Spanish-language Tesoro de la Lengua Castellana o Española, written by Sebastián de Covarrubias, before we see a dictionary in the modern sense! You’ll notice, though, that none of these are in English! So, when did English dictionaries come along?

English Dictionaries and Dr. Johnson

If you know anything about the history of dictionaries, you’re probably waiting for us to mention Samuel Johnson. And we will! But not quite yet!

Several people compiled English-language dictionaries before Dr. Johnson. The first was Robert Cawdrey, who wrote A Table Alphabetically in 1604. But it only contained 2,543 words and was not considered reliable, nor were many that followed.

By comparison, Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language, first published in 1755, was much more like a modern dictionary. Containing 42,773 words arranged alphabetically and references to show their usage, this book soon became the standard English dictionary. And it remained so until the completion of the Oxford English Dictionary in 1928.

Noah Webster and Spelling Reform

A passionate advocate of spelling reform, Noah Webster believed English spelling to be unnecessarily complex. And with this in mind, he began simplifying various words, such as dropping the “u” from “colour,” giving us many of the American English spellings we know today.

Noah Webster’s masterpiece was the American Dictionary of the English Language. First published in 1828, this expanded on previous dictionaries by around 12,000 words. And it formed the basis of the Merriam-Webster dictionary that we still have today, making it hugely influential.

History of National Dictionary Day

According to Happyday365, National Dictionary Day was celebrated on the birth anniversary of Noah Webster, an American lexicographer. In the year 1806, Noah Webster issued his first dictionary, A Compact Dictionary of the English Language, and in the year 1807 Noah Webster started to compile an expanded and fully complete American dictionary of the English Language, and it took about 27 years to fulfill this dictionary. Webster studied about 26 languages like Sanskrit, German, Old English (Anglo -Saxon), Arabic, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Latin, French, and Hebrew. Noah Webster finished his dictionary when he was in Paris, France, at the University of Cambridge. His Dictionary contained 70 thousand words, among which 12 thousand words had never appeared in any old published dictionaries.

How to Celebrate National Dictionary Day?

What is National Dictionary Day
Dictionary Game. Photo: appbrain.com

Celebrate the day by learning a few new words and expand your vocabulary. If you don’t have an activity, you can try some recommendations for Merriam-webster:


Use Merriam-Webster Activity Sheets and Scavenger Hunts that pair up with school dictionaries for wordplay discovery!


A spelling bee is a fun way to foster community all the while building vocabulary and spelling skills!


Open your dictionary to a random page, and read the first word you see!


A haiku is a Japanese form of poetry having three lines containing five, seven, and five syllables. Here’s an example: The leaves are changing. Colors of red and orange. Beautiful tree line.


Find a few rocks that are large and flat enough to paint your favorite word on. Leave the painted rocks in your backyard, garden, or if allowed, leave them on a trail or public sidewalk for someone else to discover.

National Dictionary Day Quotes

“Words―so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”―Nathaniel Hawthorne

“I was reading the dictionary. I thought it was a poem about everything.”—Steven Wright

“Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.”—Khalil Gibran

“Love is the most important thing in the world. Hate, we should remove from the dictionary.”—John Wooden

“Who is to say who is the villain and who is the hero? Probably the dictionary.”—Joss Whedon

“Every time I have to look up a word in the dictionary, I’m delighted.”—Vivienne Westwood

“Poetry consists in a rhyming dictionary and things seen.”—Gertrude Stein

“I’ve always been in love with language. My favorite book is a dictionary. I have always loved words.”—Denis Villeneuve

“Always remember that striving and struggling to precede success, even in the dictionary.”—Sarah Ban Breathnach

“If you look up the definition of greatness in the dictionary, it will say Michael Jordan.”—Elgin Baylor

Messages For National Dictionary Day

What is National Dictionary Day
Photo: techchannel.com

Dictionaries nowadays have extensive use. They are used to know the meaning of the words and are used to see the pronunciation and spelling of the story.

There are different types of dictionaries to see which will be most helpful to you according to your profession and need.

A dictionary is one of the most important and necessary sources during your time studying at a school.

A good dictionary could be your solution to different word meanings, may it be technical, complex, or general literature.

A good dictionary provides you the correct use of it by telling you its proper use in phrases and paragraphs.

People who study and practice words daily are considered to be more sensible and knowledgeable. Hence, this day is dedicated to them.

One must know the proper use of a dictionary. On this day, let us know the proper uses of them.

A service of the wrong word in wrong sentences can make a sentence go wrong and have incorrect scenes. Hence it’s essential to understand the context of the name.

A bilingual dictionary is a dictionary that translates the word you want to understand in simple terms in your native language.

A bilingual dictionary contains a small amount of information and narrows explicitly down the term’s limitation. But it’s helpful because it provides the word meaning in the native language.

A monolingual dictionary has a broader perspective. This dictionary is written in English and has its meaning and explanation all compiled in English.

Dictionary Day Observances

Year Weekday Date Name
2021 Sat 16 Oct Dictionary Day
2022 Sun 16 Oct Dictionary Day
2023 Mon 16 Oct Dictionary Day
2024 Wed 16 Oct Dictionary Day
2025 Thu 16 Oct Dictionary Day
2026 Fri 16 Oct Dictionary Day
2027 Sat 16 Oct Dictionary Day
2028 Mon 16 Oct Dictionary Day
2029 Tue 16 Oct Dictionary Day
2030 Wed 16 Oct Dictionary Day

Other Celebrations on October 16

October 16 is also celebrated as:

World Food Day

National Boss’s Day

Steve Jobs Day

National Feral Cat Day

Department Store Day

List of National Day in the world. Check it now!

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