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cheshire cat

rawrofl in medievalstudies

Anglo-Saxon Dictionary

Hello, all,

This summer I plan on spending some time teaching myself some Old English in preparation of graduate school. But I was wondering if anybody could recommend a good dictionary? A web-based dictionary would be nice, but I'd prefer if anybody knew of a good paperback.

Thanks in advance! :)


I've also informally attempted to teach myself Old English and I've found EOW to be very useful.
This web dictionary seems pretty reliable!

Also, as for paperbacks: the Bosworth-Toller is probably the classic to go for?
You can also access Bosworth and Toller online.
Just saw your comment - I posted another version of BT below that's a bit more user-friendly, in case you're interestd.
Bosworth-Toller's online here and is probably the best dictionary you can use.

There are also scans of the original publication here. Which isn't as user-friendly but is useful to double-check the above link.

The Dictionary of Old English is a more thorough and modern dictionary but is currently only complete up to G at the moment. I think you'll also need a subscription to access it, but I'm not sure.
Just a sidenote, your first link (also on www.bosworthtoller.com) provides the scans directly at each entry.

Btw. where does you icon come from? ;)
Considering I use that site several times I week you'd think I should know that already. Thanks!

The picture is stolen from this book. Annoyingly I didn't keep a record of the image itself:

Wirth, Jean, _Les marges à drôleries des manuscrits gothiques (1250-1350)_ (Genève: Droz, 2008).

I stole all the images for an LJ post a while ago.
Thank YOU! for that link to pictues, this will come very hand in classes (already used the Queck! picture once, but this collection is great)

Btw., if you find any typos in the dictionary, you can help others by correcting it straight away, no registration or similar hassle needed.
Steve Pollington's Wordcraft - Concise English to Old English is quite accessible.

I'm not actually sure how much use a dictionary on its own will be if you're starting out on teaching yourself, as your post suggests. I've found the University of Calgary course really good:


and Oxford's OE course pack:

J.R. Clark Hall's Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary LIVES on my desk.
Second this. If you need a dictionary to carry around and handle most Old English-off-the-cuff translation needs, it's Clark Hall.
I taught myself the first term's worth of OE way back when, because I was joining the course in the middle of the year--I used Mitchell's Guide to Old English and then got into Peter Baker's Introduction to Old English once I got into the class, and like both of them. I think they're more useful if you're already good at languages or at least know some German. I don't think a dictionary by itself will help all that much. You can also just grab some of the OE poems off the web and start translating till you get the hang of it. ;)
.. and there are some good readers with the original text on the left hand page and a presentday translation on the right. The last one I bought was called (iirr) The cambridge Old English Reader.

BTW in the old days in Oxford, students were expectged to be able to cope by themselveds with the help of Sweet's introductory text. It's still useful.

I use Clark Hall as well, if you're only starting out I think Baker's introduction would be more useful though - it gives you a very simple and very easy to understand introduction to the language and its grammar as well as a few easy texts to translate - to translate those you won't need anything else than the glossary in the back.