Lexicography: Dictionaries/Lexica

LSJ Lexicon with Reflection

Online Lexica for Ancient Greek

Most of the following lexica are electronic editions that can be used interactively online. Others are PDF files that can be downloaded and used on your personal computer. All are available free of charge.

ΛΟΓΕΙΟΝ

Logeion is a wonderful online dictionary interface that was developed following the example of the Dictionnaire vivant de la langue française, to provide simultaneous lookup of entries in the many reference works that make up the Perseus Classical collection (see below).

Perseus Digital Library

Perseus Banner

The Perseus Project provides a searchable copy of the Liddell-Scott-Jones lexicon, a Greek Word Study tool (formeerly called the morphological analysis tool), and access to a phenominal number of Greek texts—and all at no cost!

While this electronic edition of LSJ is tremendously useful, it is not as up-to-date as the ninth printed edition. For serious lexical study it is still necessary to consult the paper-and-ink version.

You can also search for English words to find a Greek word with a similar meaning by using the English-to-Greek Word Search, but this is not the same as having an English-to-Greek dictionary. It only searches for English words within the dictionary defintions of the Greek words.

Thesaurus Lingua Graecae

You can also search the LSJ Lexicon at the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae site. You can performEnglish to Greek searches by selecting "Meanings" as the place to search.

Philologic

Persus Running under Philologic

You can search several different dictionaries, including LSJ, using Perseus under Philologic on the University of Chicago’s site.

Woodhouse's  English-Greek Dictionary can be searched at the library of the University of Chicago. While the dictionary is quite old (1910), it can be very useful for anyone learning Attic prose composition.

Textkit provides a PDF version of  Souter's 1917 lexicon . This lexicon should not be used for serious exegetical work, but can be a useful tool for casual reading of Greek texts. Appropriately, the last entry in ths̄e lexicon (on page 297) is WFELIMOS ("useful").

 

Online Dictionaries and Encyclopedia of Linguistics Terms

Lexicon of Linguistics

The following online dictionaries and encyclopedia are available free of charge.

Studies in Greek Lexicography: Articles discussing the work of writing dictionaries

The practice of writing dictionaries is called Lexicography. The following studies in Greek Lexicography are available online.

James Aiken has provided a well-informed discussion of Greek lexicography, including the difficulties in dealing with non-literary sources." His site is worth a visit if you are involved in this kind of work.

The team producing the Diccionario Griego-Español has relied heavily on the Thesaurus Lingua Graeca database of Ancient Greek texts. This paper, originally published in Emerita, explains this dependance and the value of the TLG for lexicographical study.

The Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge (UK) hosts a project whose goal is to produce a new Ancient Greek-English Lexicon, "re-examining the source material used in other dictionaries and examining the new material which has been discovered since the end of the nineteenth century."

The single most ambitious project to create a new lexicon of Ancient Greek is without question the Diccionario Griego-Español. Housed at the Instituto de Lenguas y Culturas del Mediterraneo y Orient Proximo (Institute of Language and Cultures of the Mediterranean and Near East) and directed by Francisco R. Adrados and Juan Rodríguez Somolinos, the project has already produced seven volumes (covering α to ἔξαυος) that are currently available online.

Ancient Greek Lexicographers: Writers in the ancient world who produced dictionaries or word lists to help readers and orators

Ἀμερίας (3rd century BC)

Amerias was a Macedonian lexicographer. He is known for a work entitled Γλῶσσαι that included Homeric vocabulary as well as vocabulary from later Greek. Little of the work seems to have been specifically Macedonian.

Ἀριστοφάνης of Byzantium (c. 257 BC – c. 185–180 BC)

Inventor of one of the first systems of punctuation, quite unlike modern punctuation, and used only in poetry, Aristophanes of Byzantium also compiled collections of archaic and unusual words with explanations. His 'punctuation' system used medial (·) lower (.) and higher (·) dots as indicators of pauses and breathing when reading poetry aloud. The segments of text after which these dots were used gave us our modern English words comma, colon, and period. Aristophanes dots did not indicate anything about the linguistic structure of the texts in which they appeared. They only indicated pauses and breathing for oral recitation.

Δίδυμος Χαλκέντερος (c. 63 BCE to 10 CE)

A prolific writer of commentaries on literary works, Didymos chalkenteros also wrote a treatise on words of ambiguous or uncertain meaning (at least seven volumes) and one on corrupt or 'false' expressions. Both are now lost.

Ἡσύχιος ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεύς (late 5th century CE)

Hesychius of Alexandria was a Greek grammarian who flourished near the end of the 5th century CE. He compiled the most thorough lexicon of unusual and obscure Greek words that has survived. It exists now in a single 15th century manuscript.

Φιλίτας/Φιλήτας of Cos (Κως) (c. 340 – c. 285 BC)

Philitas wrote a vocabulary entitled Ἄτακτοι γλῶσσαι (Disorderly words) explaining the meanings of rare literary words, words from local dialects, and technical terms. This work, now lost, may have taken the form of a lexicon.

Φίλων of Byblos (c. 64-141 CE)

Philo of Byblos wrote, among his many works, a dictionary of Greek synonyms.

Σιμμίας ὁ Ῥόδιος (before 300 BCE)

A tenth-century manuscript—the Σοῦδα—attributes three γλῶσσαι (lists of unusual words with explanations) to Simmias of Rhodes.

Στέφανος Βυζάντιος (6th century CE)

Stephanus of Byzantium wrote a geographic dictionary entitled Ἐθνικά. Only small fragments remain, though an epitome compiled by Hermelaus has survived.