The Early Modern English Law Lexicon
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The Early Modern English Law Lexicon book
No profession contributed more to an understanding of the English language in the Early Modern English period than law. The notion and publication of a monolingual English dictionary began with a lawyer, John Rastell, in the early 1520s, long before it occurred to Robert Cawdrey to bring out his celebrated hard-word dictionary in 1604. Of the 43 known members of the Elizabethan Society of Antiquaries (circa 1572-1604; Schoeck 1954), 38 were lawyers. Of these, 15 contributed to lexicography in the period.1$QRWKHU¿YH QRQDQWLTXDULDQV ± -RKQ DQG:LOOLDP Rastell, John Cowell, Sir Thomas Blount and Thomas Manley – produced longODVWLQJYHU\VL]DEOHGLFWLRQDULHVRIODZWHUPVWKDWEXLOWRQEHIRUHRQO\D single, short and somewhat enigmatic glossary (Skemer 1998 and 1999). This chapter is an introduction to their work.