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Latin Dictionary Completed after 100 Years

Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources is also available in the UW--Madison Libraries

Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources is also available in the UW–Madison Libraries

Memorial Library carries the result of a 100-year project, the Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources, that finally culminated in its last volume this year, as BBC News recently reported. The need for a comprehensive Medieval Latin dictionary was raised several times in the 19th century, but it was not until April of 1913 that a significant discussion of the project started. Read more about the DMLBS and how it began here: History of the Project.

Dr. Richard Ashdowne, editor of the dictionary (Image from BBC News)

Dr. Richard Ashdowne, editor of the dictionary (Image from BBC News)

Reference librarian Nancy McClements at the Memorial Library noted that it’s not everyday the BBC — or any news source! — writes about reference books in the Libraries. This is exciting news, since now our collection will be complete with 17 full volumes (the BBC noted 16, which is actually incorrect). McClements told us that the Libraries have a “continuous” order, which means that when the final volume is ready, the Libraries will receive it automatically.

Hopefully, scholars can put the final volume to good use, including the very last word of the dictionary: zythum, “a sort of drink made from fermented malt, (Egyptian) beer.”

The Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources, volume 1-16 (and soon 17), are in the Memorial Library Reference Stacks on the 2nd floor.

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