About The Joy of English

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English
1756 – online edition

This online version of Johnson's Dictionary (1756) was put together by whichenglish.com and the author of The Joy of English.

It was produced by combining OCR and sophisticated GREP, in addition to pure, time-consuming search-and-replace grunt for formatting and clean-up. It is by no means a clean, perfect text reproduction (yet) but it is an ongoing project. The sheer volume of code behind these pages (137,000 lines of code) means that there is only so much one man can do. The overall integrity of the contents of the dictionary is here.

A few notes about this online version of the dictionary. First, it is not perfect. (See how Google OCR treats this 1642 text for comparison.) Most of the 47,000 headwords will be highlighted in bold and each definition in separate p-tags. Many did not succeed during conversion and the sheer volume of entries prohibits be from doing them all manually one by one. Second, not every word came out accurately in the OCR process and so many definitions will have garbled words and entries. Again, the volume here means that the time it would take to fix manually would be enormous. At present it is not just feasible for one person (me) to clean up. Third, not ALL of the entries ARE actually garbled. This is because the spelling of the 1700s was different from what we recognize today. The most notable difference here is the letter s, printed at the time as ſ because it is a long s. So, instead of appearing as sensual. Samuel Johnson's Dictionary rendered it as ſenſual. So these are not mistakes – it just takes a little getting your head round it.

Today's letter s was at the time of printing Johnson's Dictionary typically rendered ſ. So, sounds looks on these pages as ſounds, English looks like Engliſh. This is not mistake. Equally italic long s looks like Shakʃpeare in the word Shakespeare.

English long s

As you can see from these 18th-century chiselled gravestones, the f (left) and long s (right, between i and h) are distinctly different. So, please don't be offended if you see ſuck, it is merely 18th-century suck.


Anyway, I hope you enjoy browsing. Jesse.


This page last updated: 20 October 2014


Z. Is found in the Saxon alphabets, fet
down by Grammarians, but is read
in no word originaily Teutonick :
its found is uniformly that of an hard S.
No word of Englisf origin begins with Z.

ZA'FFAR. f. Powder the calx of cobalt,

ZATFIR. very fine, and mix it with
three times its weight of powdered flints,
this being wetted with common water, the
whole concretes into a ſolid maſs called
zaffre, which from its hardneſs has been
miſtaken for a native mineral. Hill.

ZA'NY. ʃ. One employed to raiſe laughter
by his geftures, actions and ſpeeches ; a merry Andrew ;
a buffoon. Shakʃpeare, Donne.

ZA'RNICH. ʃ. A ſolid ſubſtance in which
orpiment is frequently found ; and it approaches
to the nature of orpiment, but
without its luſtre and foliaten texture.
The common kinds of zamkb are green
and yellow. Hill.

ZEAL. ʃ. [{^Aoj; xff/y, Latin.] Paſſionate
ardour for any perſon or cauſ'e. Hooker, Milton, Dryd. Til.'ot^on. Spratr.

ZEA'LOT. f. [iie/oieur, French; ^nXcomc.]
One paſſionately ardent in any cauſe. Generally
uſed in diſpraiſe. Spratt.

ZEA'LOUS. <2. [from ^eal.] Ardently paſſionate
in any cauſe. Taylor, Spratt.

ZEA'LOUSLY. ad. [from r.^^/.wi.] With
pafTioriate ardour. Swift.

ZEA'LOUSNESS. ʃ. [from Zfalous.] Ths
quality of being zealous.

ZE'CHIN. ʃ. [So named from Zecha, a place
in Venice where the mint is ſettled for
coinage.] A gold coin worth about nine
ſhillings ſterling.

ZEDO'ARY. ʃ. [zfdoaire, Tremh.^ A ſpicy
plant, ſomevihac like gmger in its leaves',
but of a ſweet ſcent.

ZED. ʃ. ʃ. The name of the letter z. Shakʃpeare./i>,

ZE'NITH. ʃ. [Arabick.] The point ov^r
head oppolite the nadir, Duvici, Brown.

ZE'PHYR. ʃ. i^'phyrus, Latin.] »The

XE'PHYRUS. y weſt wind ; and poetically
any calm ſoft wind. Peach. Milton. Thomf.

ZEST. ʃ.
1. The peel' of an orange ſqueezed into wine.
2. AreiiAj a taſte added.

To ZEST. 1/.
onal reliſh.

by enquiry.

ZEUGMA. ʃ. [from ^£?y,aa.] A figure in
Grammar, when a verb agreeing with divers
nouns^ or anadjective with divers ſubſtantives,
is referred to one expreſly, and
to the other by ſupplement, as lufl: cvercann.
e flume, boJdneſs fear, and madneſs

ZO'CLE. ʃ. [Inarchiteaore.] A ſmall fort
of itand or pedeſtal, being a low ſquare
To heighten by an additi
[from {>jTE6t;.] Proceeding

piece or member, ſerving to ſupport a
buſto, flatue, or the like.

ZO'DIACK. ʃ. [luhaitk.] The track of
the fun through the twelve ſigns ; a great
circle of the ſphere, containing the twelve
ſigns. Ben. Johnson, Berkley.

ZONE. ʃ. [{ccvn ; zonoy Latin.]
1. A girdle. Dryden, Granville.
2. A diviſion of the earth. The whole
ſurface of the earth is divided into five
zones: the firſt is contained between the
two tropicks, and is called the torrid zone.
There are two temperate zones^ and two
frigid zones. The northern temperate zone
is terminated by the tropick of Cancer and
the arctick polar circle : the ſouthern temperate
zone is contained' between the tropick
of Capricorn and the polar circle : the
frigid zones are circumſcribed by the polar
circles, and the poles are in their centers.
Suckling. Dryden.
3. Circuit ; circumference. Milton.

ZOO'GRAPHER. ʃ. [{W and y^et<^a,.]
One who deſcribes the nature, properties,
and forms of animals. Brown.

ZOO'GRAPHY. ʃ. [of {m and y^i<^','\ A
deſcriptionof the forms, natures, and properties
of animals. Glanville.

ZOOLOGY. ʃ. [of Imv and -koy^.] A
treatiſe 'concerning living creatures.

ZOO'PHYTE. ʃ. [{«o(pi>Tov.] Certain vegetables
or ſubſtances which partake of the
nature both of vegetables and animals.

ZOOPHO'RICK Co/j<w«. ſ. [In architecture.]
A Actuary column, or a coloma
which bears or ſupports the figure of ar»,

ZOO'PHORUS. ʃ. [fft)o4>oga?.] A part between
the architraves and cornice, ſo cal«
Jed on account of the ornaments carved on
it, among which are the figures of animals,

ZOO'TOMIST. ʃ. [of {«oro/uict.] Adiffedor
of the bodies of brute beaſts.

ZOOTOMY. ʃ. [I'^toiaIcl.] Diffection of
the bodies of beaſts.

F I N I S.