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A DICTIONARY OF
ILLUSTRATED WITH QUOTATIONS FROM STANDARD
BT TBI LATE
CHARLES JOHN SMITH, M.A.,
BIST CHURCH, OXJOBD; LATE ABCHDEACOB OT JAMAICA, AID YICAB 01 BBITH.
WITH THE AUTHOR'S LATEST CORRECTIONS AND ADDITIONS
THE REV. H. PERCY SMITH, MA„
OF BALLIOL COLLEGE, OXFORD; VICAR OF GREAT BARTON, SUJTOLE.
PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION.
It has appeared to the writer of the following pages that occasion has long existed for a new book on the Synonyms of the English Language, which should be written in some respects from fresh points of view, and should be of B fuller character than commonly belongs to works on this subject. The present edition has been revised, and considerably enlarged. The Author feels bound specially to acknowledge material aid in his labours derived from the latest edition of M. Guizot's " Dictionnaire Universal des Synonymes de la langue Francaise," from which, bearing in mind the differences between the genius of the French and the English, he has extracted much valuable matter. He has also analyzed and assimilated the observations of previous writers on English Synonymy—the branch of literature which has hitherto borne very scanty fruit in our own country. Such writers are Crabbe, Taylor, Graham, and the late Archbishop Whately.
While he has exercised his own independent judgment and original thought, he has not scrupled to incorporate views of other writers where he believed that he might do so with advantage. His object has been neither a display of originality on the one hand, nor a servile compilation on the other, but such a combination of his own ideas with those of valued authorities as might tend to produce a useful work on the subject in hand. It would be needless to say to how great an extent any writer on English Synonyms must at present be thrown on his own resources.
He must acknowledge also invaluable help, in the quotations from Dr. Richardson's "English Dictionary," which, from the comprehensive range of authors quoted, will in many cases be found to furnish, as it were, a literary biography of the words in question. The arrangement of their meanings in Webster has also been occasionally of good service.
The list of words noticed has been purposely made as ample as possible; for observation has taught him that our acquaintance with the distinctive force even of familiar words is often less accurate than we are apt to imagine; besides which, the requirements of foreign students of our language seemed in a peculiar way to claim his sympathy and consideration.
He has been careful to give the derivations of the words analyzed, so far as this was necessary for a fundamental conception of the nature of the words themselves; and in this department he has sought the guidance and corroboration only of advanced and scientific etymologists. On the other hand he has striven to avoid the temptation of undue amplification on these points, feeling himself bound to keep steadily in view the distinction between a Philological Treatise and a Dictionary of Synonyms.
In regard to the quotations, he has endeavoured to make them as illustrative as possible of the observations which have gone before, by selecting passages in which they are employed with characteristic force by leading writers of the language. It would have swollen the book to unwieldy dimensions, and have been altogether alien to its character and object, had he given quotations of the words under every sense in which they might have been employed, or treated them in all cases as Words and not as Synonyms.
An Index has been added to the present edition. This will serve not only as a guide to the Synonyms as arranged, but also will enable the reader to institute independent comparisons of the words, if he should desire to do so.
The Author, at the time of his death, had already put together a large amount of material for a new edition, for which he had also written the above Preface. My own work has been simply such revision as was necessary while the Dictionary was passing through the press.
H. P. S.