Guide to reading entries in the dictionary

Here follows a guide to interpreting the information encoded in this dictionary’s entries. We use the entry for feek – below – as an examplar.

1.         Headword and variant forms

The entry begins with a list, in bold, of all attested forms, listed in descending order of frequency (gauged impressionistically). The first-listed form is usually called the headword.

2.         Pronunciation guide

Some entries include a pronunciation guide within square brackets immediately after the word forms. To assist non-specialists we use rhyming cues, e.g. baw [rhymes with English saw], rather than phonetic transcriptions.

3.         Part of speech

The word’s class, i.e. part of speech, is given immediately after the list of its forms in talics.

4.         Senses, examples, and dating evidence

After the part of speech are listed the word’s sense, usually with an illustrative quotation. Where there are two or more senses, they are numbered and listed in order of frequency (also gauged impressionistically). Dating evidence is also provided in italics. In our exemplar we see that evidence for sense 1 (find, obtain, etc) is found from the 19th century onwards (signified by 19-), while evidence for sense 2 (give, get) is found from the 20thcentury onwards (signified by 20-) Other types of dating signifiers used in this dictionary include: X, e.g. 19, meaning evidence is confined to the nineteenth century; X-X e.g. 18-20, meaning evidence dates from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries; la, e.g. la17, which signifies that evidence dates to the late seventeenth century only and laX-, e.g. la16- where evidence dates from the late sixteenth century onwards.

5.         Derivatives, compounds and phrases

Where a word forms the base of a derivative, compound or phrase, this will be identified after the sense of the word alone along with information.

6.         Etymological information and evidentiary sources

Information about word origin and sources is provided in the Etymology block. Some evidentiary sources are identified by abbreviations, e.g. BS in TDITA, SS, EmcC/PS in our exemplar. Hover your cursor over the abbreviated form to expand it. Further information is given on the Abbreviations page.

7.         Ancillary notes

Some entries have a NOTE section after the etymology to provide ancillary information.