Standard English elsewhere

Webster, Noah (1758-1843)

American lexicographer and linguist. Born in Connecticut and studied at Yale. After fighting in the American Revolution he worked as a lawyer in Hartford. His Grammatical institute of the English language (1783-85) established his reputation as the foremost scholar of English in America. The first part of this work, The elementary spelling book, was instrumental in standardising American spelling even though not all of Webster’s suggestions were later adopted. His lexicographical work includes the Compendious dictionary (1806) which was followed by his major work, The American dictionary of the English language (1812) which contained 70,000 words, 12,000 of which had not been listed before. The work went through many revisions. The last which Webster saw through himself was that of 1840. It has been repeatedly revised and published and has retained its popularity in America.

More information on the spread of English overseas during the colonial period can be found on the companion website:


Studying Varieties of English