Today is considered Dictionary Day in honor of Noah Webster, known as the Father of the American Dictionary. He was born on October 16, 1758. The whole idea of Dictionary Day is to emphasize the importance of dictionary skills and improving our vocabulary.

Webster began to write his dictionary at the age of 43. It took him 27 years to finish it! He was actively involved in the American Revolution, and to further break away from England, he thought our language should be uniquely American. That’s why so many of our words have different spellings from those used in England or even in Canada: color as opposed to colour, center instead of centre, plow instead of plough.

Not all of his spelling changes were accepted. He wanted to spell women as wimmen and tongue as tung.

Webster also included uniquely American words like skunk, hickory and chowder.

He also learned 26 languages so he could provide the history and the source of the English words we use.

When he was finally done, he had over 70,000 entries.

The Merriam Publishing Company bought up all the remaining copies of his dictionary in 1841 and agreed to revise and update the dictionary as needed. That company is now known as Merriam-Webster and still in business to this day.

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