Noah Webster, a Yale-educated lawyer with an avid interest in language and education, publishes his American Dictionary of the English Language.
Webster’s dictionary was one of the first lexicons to include distinctly American words. The dictionary, which took him more than two decades to complete, introduced more than 10,000 “Americanisms.” The introduction of a standard American dictionary helped standardize English spelling, a process that had started as early as 1473, when printer William Caxton published the first book printed in English. The rapid proliferation of printing and the development of dictionaries resulted in increasingly standardized spellings by the mid-17th century. Coincidentally, Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language was published almost exactly 63 years earlier, on April 15, 1755.