Back in the early 90s when people had no idea about Google and wanted to look up for a meaning of the word, the only resort they relied on was what elders called as a dictionary. It is this that makes today’s Google doodle is a bit ironical as it honours Samuel Johnson. Johnson is known as the father of the modern dictionary, on his 308th birthday.
The British lexicographer published the Johnson’s: A Dictionary of the English Language in 1755. Interestingly, it took him nine years to compile the book, which he’d initially intended to finish in three. Rumours have it that the Britsh lexicographer sat only after noon to work on it. As per Indian Express report, it was described as “one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship,” and had a far-reaching effect on modern English. The man himself has been described by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as “arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history”.
Johnson was born in 1709 to a bookseller and his wife in Staffordshire, England. Notably, his dictionary was called ‘colossal’ at nearly 18 inches tall and was the best English dictionary till the Oxford English Dictionary was published in 1928. Though, it’s important to note that Johnson’s was not the first dictionary, but the ones that preceded him were of poor quality, while the committed Tory’s version had wit and the explanations were quite entertaining.
His life also made him the subject of the first modern biography, The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell.