The other day (while looking for something else) I ran across our copy of A High-School Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1881 (abridged, it says, from a recent edition of Webster’s dictionary). And illustrated with 300 wood engravings.
So, what words did the editors of this dictionary believe high-schoolers of the 1880s would need to know? Some odd ones, by modern standards, believe me. Such as:
Abalienate, v.t. To transfer the title of.
Abatis, n. Branches of trees turned outward for defense.
Abbacy, n. Condition, rights, or privileges of an abbot.
Abdicative, n. Causing or implying abdication.
Abduce, v.t. To draw away.
Abecedarian, n. A teacher or learner of the alphabet.
Abib, n. The first month of the Jewish year.
Abigail, n. A lady’s waiting-woman.
Abnegate, v.t. To deny; to renounce.
Isn’t language fun? Plus, when I’m stuck for a topic, I can always turn to this volume.