About The Joy of English

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

Welcome to the first online edition of the original dictionary published by Dr Samuel Johnson.


Click here to browse the complete online version of
Dr Samuel Johnson's complete Dictionary of the English Language (1755).

Or click here to see more about the physical book itself, The inside pages of Johnson's Dictionary of the English language


The first dictionary published in 1755 was a large, two-volume folio edition and it sold relatively slowly because of its price. The publishers realised that a smaller, abridged version (also in two volumes) would be cheaper and more acessible. Johnson himself did the work of cutting it down by removing the literary quotations and shortening some definitions, as well as adding a new introduction aimed at the "common reader". He also removed many "barbarous words and phrases" to make it more palatable and took the opportunity to make several corrections to spelling. This became the 1756 edition, which is featured on this site.


Johnson's Dictionary 1755

Other links for Dr Samuel Johnson's Dictionary


Online dictionaries

A Dictionary of the English Language
wikipedia entry

A Dictionary of the English Language - Samuel Johnson - 1755
www.johnsonsdictionaryonline.com [HTML; in progress]

Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language (1755)
Hathi Trust Digital Library [page flip scan]

Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language – Third Edition
Google Books scan [page flip scan]

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language (1785)
internet archive | txt | PDF (123MB) | B/W PDF (120MB) | EPUB | Kindle | online

Dr. Johnson's Dictionary (1756)
A blog of random excerpts from the 1755 edition held at Yale


Articles about Dr Samuel Johnson

An Introduction to Dr. Johnson's "Dictionary of the English Language"
an article by Richard Nordquist

Complete biobliography of works by Samuel Johnson
Penn Univeristy

Johnson's Dictionary – a biography and excerpts
Glasgow University

The Sources of Johnson’s Dictionary
Vassar College, By Robert DeMaria  

Johnson, Preface to the Dictionary
Full text of the preface, edited by Jack Lynch

A soul of fire: celebrating Samuel Johnson
An article on oxfordictionaries.com



Johnson's Dictionary 1755

Related links Samuel Johnson

Dr Johnson's House – official website
The link to the official site for Dr Johnson's House, London

The Dr Johnson's Dictionary – the quiz
The Guardian put together a trivia quiz in 2009

All editions of Johnson books on sale – rare editions
Peter Harrington, London, specialises in rare originals (£17,500 for 1755 ed.)

A moment more durable than brass
A neat website dedicated to the life of Samuel Johnson

The Johnson Society, Lichfield
The website of the Johnson Society, Lichfield

The Samuel Johnson Sound Bite Page
The Samuel Johnson Sound Bite Page

The Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction
The UK's most prestigious non-fiction award.


Videos about Samuel Johnson and his dictionary

[BBC 4] Samuel Johnson: The Dictionary Man


Two Minute London Lives: Dr Samuel Johnson


Samuel Johnson's House


What's So Special About Johnson's Dictionary?