John Wilkins’ and William Lloyd's Alphabetical Dictionary (1668): Towards a comprehensive, and systematically defined, lexicon.
The scholarship on the history of English lexicography has left the Alphabetical Dictionary by John Wilkins and William Lloyd outside of the standard chronology of important developments in lexicography. Since the dictionary was published along with An Essay towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language (1668) by John Wilkins, it has largely been neglected in dictionary histories. However, in my research I have discovered that the Alphabetical Dictionary contributed to the development of English lexicography. In this paper I present evidence which shows that Wilkins and Lloyd constructed a dictionary in which words used for defining (the lexicographical metalanguage) were also defined; this was an innovation in the early period of English monolingual dictionaries. I introduce this specific analysis with a broader background analysis that attempts to situate the Alphabetical Dictionary in the chronology of English lexicography.