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Elementary Latin Dictionary by Lewis

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Elementary Latin Dictionary by Lewis

Postby Brian » Sun Jan 14, 2007 11:51 am

The giant Latin Dictionary by Lewis and Short, is quite pricey. Is the Elementary Latin Dictionary by C.T. Lewis, a suitable substitute? It appears to be an abridged version, of the big dictionary, similar, in kind, to the abridged version of the giant Liddell/Scott Greek-English Lexicon.

thanks in advance for any advice

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Postby euphony » Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:58 pm

Hi Brian,

I am an intermediate student of Latin and I find the CT Lewis abridged dictionary to be enough for my purposes. I haven't even had to think about upgrading yet, but perhaps as an advanced student I will have to.
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Postby Beatus Pistor » Sun Jan 14, 2007 3:26 pm

I own hard copies of all 4 major latin dictionaries:
1. Casselll's
2. Chambers-Murray(a re-sale of Smith smaller latin dictionary).
3. Lewis - Elementary latin dictionary
4. Bantham's new college.

All the first 3 dictionaries suffer from the fact that they are written under old lexical methodologies and in archaic(British) English. They are all about the same scope. Cassell's, if you read the preface, has been revised too many times, and from personal experience it sometimes gives false quantities for certain words. Chambers-Murry(0550190031), and don't let its old name full you, is the most detailed and includes later authors, such as Ausonius. It is about the same size and price of Cassell's but it is only latin-english.(16$~)
The elementary is fine, archaic, detailed enough but is twice the price. Its highlight is the etymological appendix at its end, which is not even included in the full lewis and short.
The Bantham is an excellent quick reference, and its interface is excellent, only suppressed by the OLD.
Though I am against the use of big dictionaries, and dictionaries in general after about two years of working knowledge of a language, as they slow your progress down, I think the oxford Latin dictionary(0198642245) is a choice far better than the lewis and short, if you decide to go the pricey and bulky way.

Both Lewis and Lewis and Short are available online, in case you bump into philological issue, which you can't find a solution to it otherwise:
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Re: Elementary Latin Dictionary by Lewis

Postby danielarseno » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:26 am

Chambers-Murray is the 3rd edition of Smith's smaller Latin-English dictionary. It was entirely re-written by Lockwood in 1933 and considerably abridged. I compared a few entries from my 2nd edition (1929 printing) with the Chambers Murray (3rd ed.). Many definitions are shortened in the newer edition, examples are removed, extra meanings are cut out. Many words are altogether removed from the newer edition. Proper names in the 2nd edition were set apart in the back of the dictionary, which as Smith explains in the preface makes it easier to find common words. Unfortunately, the 3rd edition inserts them into the main text.

The Elementary Lewis (or Little Lewis as it is often called) is the best choice still in print. Smith's 2nd edition is slightly broader in scope, but Lewis gives more examples. If you're limiting your reading to the major authors mentioned in the Preface (Terence, Caesar, Sallust, Cicero, Livy, Nepos, Vergil, Horace, Ovid, Juvenal, Phadrus, Curtius, Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius, and Tacitus in his larger works), you will need no other dictionary, as it contains all the words used by these authors.

Of course, the price difference between Lewis and Chambers-Murray is pretty steep. This may be due to the fact that the Lewis is a hardback with an excellent binding, whereas the Chambers-Murray is a glued paperpack. However, the Lewis is a facsimile and not printed from original plates, therefore the text is not very clear, but still very readable.

I wouldn't bother at all with the huge Lewis and Short or the OLD for casual reading. They are good for researching particular segments of text, but the bulkiness and the number of entries makes them impractical for reading large quantities of text.

One final remark. All the dictionaries on the market, except the unabridged Lewis and Short, are meant for classical Latin. It is unfortunate that there exists no smaller dictionary with a wider scope for students who are also interested in Patristic, Medieval, and Renaissance Latin.
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