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May 28, 2013

Literary Tidbit Tuesday: Remembering Noah Webster, the Man of Many Words

noah webster When I hear the name Webster, I automatically associate it with the dictionary. I’m sure you have the same reaction, as one of the most commonly used dictionaries in the USA for the English language is the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. But beyond believing that he had something to do with our modern dictionaries, there’s surprisingly little I actually do know about this Man of Many Words. So for Literary Tidbit Tuesday, I thought it’d be great fun if we could all learn a few interesting facts about Noah Webster!
  1. He was an educator. Noah Webster worked as a schoolteacher around the time of the American Revolution.
  2. He founded one of the first daily newspapers in New York – American Minerva – and worked as the editor of this paper for four years.
  3. Noah Webster published several works during his lifetime including a grammar text book (A Grammatical Institute of the English Language), his own edition of the Bible, and a booklet on global warming appropriately titled Are Our Winters Getting Warmer?
  4. Webster was a graduate of Yale University.
  5. It is believed that Noah Webster supported American independence through working to standardize the spelling of words such as color and humor – spelling which has since become a distinctive characteristic of written American English.  
  6. Today, May 28th,marks the date of Noah Webster’s death 170 years ago. He passed away at the ripe old age of 84.
It’s not only for the word-nerds and dictionary buffs to remember with respect the death of Webster. After all, if it weren’t for his grammatical fervor and love for words, American English might be quite different from the language we recognize today! :)