William Smith (lexicographer)

William Smith (Lexicographer)

William Smith (lexicographer)

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Sir William Smith Kt. (1813–1893) was a noted English lexicographer.

Early life

Born at Enfield in 1813 of Nonconformist parents, he was originally destined for a theological career, but instead was articled to a solicitor. In his spare time he taught himself classics, and when he entered University College London he carried off both the Greek and Latin prizes. He was entered at Gray's Inn in 1830, but gave up his legal studies for a post at University College School and began to write on classical subjects.


Smith next turned his attention to lexicography. His first attempt was A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, which appeared in 1842, the greater part being written by him. Then followed the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology in 1849. A parallel Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography appeared in 1857, with some leading scholars of the day associated with the task.

Meanwhile he published the first of several school dictionaries in 1850, and in 1853 he began the Principia series, which marked an advance in the school teaching of Greek and Latin. Then came the Student's Manuals of History and Literature, of which the English literature volume went into 13 editions.Thomas Budd Shaw: The Student's Manual of English Literature... (London, 1864). He himself wrote...
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