BOYER, ABEL. 1667?-1729.
The Royal Dictionary, In Two Parts. First, French and English. Secondly, English and French. London: R.Clavel, H. Mortlock, S. Lowndes, et al., 1699.
4to (242 x 178 mm). Triple column. Engraved additional title by S. Gribelin after P. Berchet. Preface in both English and French. Modern half calf over marbled boards. Stain to *l2-*13 obscuring a few letters, marginal dampstain at ends and to frontis.
Provenance: J. Negris (ownership signature to title dated 1713).
FIRST EDITION OF "THE BEST DESCRIPTION OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE AT THE END OF THE 17TH CENTURY" AND "ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL DICTIONARIES OF ALL TIME" (Hausmann Dictionaires p 2957, translated). There was no monolingual dictionary of general English available at the time. Boyer was an impoverished Huguenot refugee when he fell into employ preparing an edition of Miege's dictionary. Here, Boyer goes to great length to improve upon Miege by providing individual definitions for synonyms and a great number of idiomatic usages. As he reasons in his preface, "Now I would fain to know by what sort of Magick, a Man can find out the true individual Signification he is in quest of, unless there be a parallel Signification, or Short Definition, in the same language." Boyer's records of idioms give us such gems as "His fingers are lime-twigs (he is apt to filch)" and "onions make a man wink, stink, and blink." Wing B-3917.