Oxford Latin Dictionary (英語) ハードカバー – 1983/3/24
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Fifty years in the making, the Oxford Latin Dictionary is the first Latin-English dictionary based on a fresh reading of original sources. The Dictionary was published in eight fascicles between 1968 and 1982 and is now available in a single bound volume.
Features of the Oxford Latin Dictionary
· First Latin-English dictionary composed directly from original sources
· Comprehensive coverage of classical Latin with entries for approximately 40,000 words
· Based on a collection of over one million quotations that illustrate the meaning and use of Latin words from the earliest known instance
· Definitions are in modern English and based on modern lexicographical principles
· Up-to-date with the inclusion of better texts as well as epigraphical material that was previously unavailable
The Oxford Latin Dictionary is a comprehensive and authoritative reference work for students, teachers, professionals, and general readers interested in classical languages and literature, ancient history, medieval studies, languages, art history, ancient philosophy, religion, archaeology, law, medicine, and natural science.
"This is the long-awaited one-volume edition of the work that has been appearing regularly in fascicles since 1968. It is a work that any significant library ought to possess."--Library Journal
"By far the most scholarly, reliable, and convenient bilingual dictionary of its scope for any language. The Latinist cannot live without it."--American Notes and Queries
"The appearance of each new fascicle of this dictionary is a welcome event and one calculated to make the student look forward to the time when he can possess the entire book."--Classical World
"Indispensable for any serious, advanced study in Latin language or literature, and a must for the reference collections of academic and research libraries."--American Reference Books Annual
As it does not include later authors, it is perhaps better used by Classicists than Medievalists, who may find medieval Latin vocabulary lacking. Thankfully for Classicists (and those using Classical texts) it does not present anachronistic distinctions in the graphs for /u/ and /w/, as well as for /i/ and /j/. In this respect, it is truer to Roman orthography and allows the student to look up 'iaceo' where it belongs, under 'i', rather than making up a letter, 'j', which was not part of the Roman alphabet.
Those who have used Lewis and Short for a long time will of course find it difficult to give up their longtime companion. However, those who take the time to acquaint themselves with the first major attempt to improve on the nineteenth century classic, should find the OLD to be a more thorough and accessible guide to Latin of the 'Golden' and 'Silver' ages.
Let me put it with some examples:
You're reading Horace, and you come across this verse: "frigidas noctes non sine multis insomnis lacrimis agit". You doubt about what "agere" means here and you look it up in the OLD. Before coming across with the meaning number 34, subdivision b, ("34. To spend [one's life]; b [other periods of time]"), you'll have easily spent twenty minutes. Even worse: meaning 35 doesn't seem to be so palpably different from the one you've just read ("35. To live one's life"). There are yet more subdivision, that don't seem to add anything substantial: "35: (also transf., esp. of places). b (w. pred. adjs.). c (w. locality indicated)." The main concern of the OLD, here and in other entry, seems to be taxonomy and not meaning. The authores want to classify and sub-classify to an extent that makes the distinctions useless, and the dictionary bulkier than it should (this space could have been used to make the definitions themselves longer and clearer). On occasion, however, they warn the reader. In "postis", for instance, they make clear in the second meaning that "this sense is not always clearly distinguishable in the example from sense 1". This is doubtlessly true; they should have added that these shades are almost never "clearly distinguishable". But this is not the case of "postis" only; it happens in virtually every long entry, and in many of the shorter ones too. A previous reviewer commented extensively on how often two, three or even more different senses are assigned, when it would have been much more user-friendly to put all of these together. In many cases, this excessive subdivision is not just an excess of subtlety, but a mistake, for it aims at putting apart what for Latin writers, but also for us, is rightly felt as only one meaning.
This is in my opinion the first problem: the obsession with classification, which is not even consistent in different parts of the dictionary (some words have much more sense than they reasonably should, as "ago", but some are just fine; I suspect that the first fascicules were much worse than the last ones, and "ago", of course, was already in the first fascicule).
The second problem is that examples are abundant, but they are utterly separated from the meaning of the words; they even appear in a smaller font, as in the Shorter Oxford Dictionary. The problem is that, more often than not, this abundance of examples does not help you to see any clearer in the meaning of the word, because they are just an accumulation of instances when the same word is used, and, what is worse, often without any distinguishable shade of meaning. In the Liddell-Scott Greek Lexicon, examples are perfectly integrated with the discussion on the meaning of the word itself, and they always illuminate the meaning; they are never, ever gratuitous. In the OLD, examples seem to be there for its own sake.
This leads to another questionable editorial decision: the actual space devoted to defining a word is very restricted. Take "nobilis": there are eight meanings, most of them with two or three sub-meanings, and yet all of these are exceedingly short; possibly some 200 words, all in all. Examples, on the other hand, are many: some 1000 words. I believe that examples are fundamental, but in a dictionary they should help illuminate the meaning of the word. Examples, on the other hand, are in 98 % of cases just thrown there, without any explanation whatever (which, again, is not the case in the Liddell-Scott). I seriously doubt many readers, however interested they may be in the meaning of the word in question, will browse twenty lines of Latin text, just to find the same shades time and again.
In short, this was not what I expected when I bought the OLD. I had been reading a lot of Latin poetry with the Lewis-Short, and thought I would invest some money to have the last word in Latin dictionaries. Needless to say, I was let down. If you want to understand the Latin text, I believe the Lewis-Short is still more useful.
It is also true that the OLD follows the latest lexicographical conventions, and has incorporated material from many sources absent in Lewis-Short. However, as regards the contents, it is difficult to assess if there has been any substantial progress. The proof that it has not simply superseded the Lewis-Short is that Oxford University Press, very sensibly, has not put the Lewis-Short out of press, and this is not, I believe, only because the Lewis-Short include some words from after 200 AD.
Very beautiful, very useful dictionary. Be warned, though, that not everything is as bright as it looks, and that this dictionary is definitely not the gem of scholarship and usefulness the Greek Liddell-Scott is.
Yes, it is expensive.
But I have found no ancient language dicitonary which can compare to it in terms of organization, clarity and fullness of example sentences. This dictionary has a format almost identical to "The Shorter Oxford ENGLISH Dictionary". In other words, it is organized like the very best of modern dictionaries. The meanings given are very good (like in the Shorter Oxford). I almost never refer to my "Lewis and Short" now that I have this -- there is NO comparision.
If you consider yourself a serious student of the language, I strongly suggest you get this dictionary. I refered to it often, even during my first semester of Latin. But if you consider yourself a lover of Latin, you simply MUST do yourself the favor of owning this beautiful work. (Buy it for yourself at Christmas! You deserve it!)
The other dictionary I use and recommend (and which I can carry around) is Cassel's Latin Dictionary.
It may be relevent (in a good or bad way) that I am a true aficionado of dictionaries. I own about 25 dictionaries (most of them english) and use them regularly. Also, I use dictionaries to find the meanings of words I don't know or don't fully know; I don't look in dictionaries "for fun". My favorite english dictionary is The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (That's the "Shorter" two-volume Oxford, not the "Compact" two-volume OED that requires a magnifying glass).