Maggs Bros Ltd

A New Pocket Dictionary of the French and English Languages. 

NUGENT Thomas (1767)

£2500.00  [First Edition]

Available to view at our Curzon Street shop.

In Two Parts. I. French and English. II. English and French. Containing all words of general use, and authorized by the best writers. As also distinguishing the several parts of speech, with the gender of the nouns in the French language. To which are added, the accents of the English words for the use of Foreigners, and an alphabetical list of the most common Christian names, with their most usual abbreviations. Carefully compiled from the most approved Dictionaries, French and English, particularly from the Royal Academy of Paris.

First Edition. Bound in Two Volumes. Square 12mo (113x119 mm). [468] pp., with the final advertisement leaf. Foxed and a little browned in places throughout, upper and lower edges closely cropped (touching the headlines, catch-words, pagination and signatures but not obscuring the text), single neat pencil note to E5, small ink blot to H4 (touching two lines of text), corner of S3 folded, small chip in the blank lower inner margin of T1-U2, title-page of the second volume heavily stained around the edges by the turn-ins, small tear to blank fore-margin of g1, paper flaw to the lower blank edge of s4, small closed tear to the upper edge of the advertisement leaf x6 (touching, but not obscuring, four lines of text), c.12 lines of manuscript notes concerning grammar on the final blank leaf of the second volume. Contemporary calf, covers ruled in blind, second volume with the remains of a clasp, manuscript lettering to the upper cover of each volume “Eng Fr” and “Fr Eng” (heavily worn and rubbed, headcaps torn away, corners bumped, joints of the first volume cracked but holding and with a couple of pieces torn from the spine).   London: for Edward and Charles Dilly,

Alston XII 709.   

Rare. ESTC records BL, Bodley and St Andrews [this is not in the online catalogue and may be a confusion with Aberdeen] only in the U.K.; Indiana State (in the Cordell Dictionary collection) only in the USA. WorldCat adds a copy at Aberdeen University. Allston adds four copies in European libraries (including the Bibliotheque Nationale).  

Thomas Nugent’s (c.1700-1772) New Pocket Dictionary - “for the use of Schools and private Gentlemen” - was published by Charles and Edward Dilly on Thursday 13th August 1767 prices at 3s “bound and clasped” (see the advertisement in the London Evening Post). Nugent explains the advantage of this compact dictionary in his preface: “by the smallness of its size the following repository of words is become portable to Learners of both Languages [English and French], by which means they can have an easier recourse to it, so often as anything occurs in conversation or reading, with which they are unacquainted. The smallness of the size renders it also of easy purchase, and proper on that accounts in Schools, where Dictionaries of large bulk an expense are become a burden” (A2r). On the composition of the dictionary he notes that, “recourse has been had to the best Dictionaries, French and English, particularly to that of the Royal Academy, which is justly looked upon as the Standard of the French tongue; yet we have take the liberty to insert a few words not adopted by that learned body, where the particular energy of force of expression, seemed to justify the use (A2v). Nugent’s dictionary was repeatedly re-printed into the 20th-century (Alston records a fiftieth edition in 1882 and a London edition of 1990).

All of the early editions are scarce. The first edition is also the only edition which is the sole product of Thomas Nugent – the following 1770 Dublin edition is “corrected and greatly improved by John Astruc” and most of the subsequent editions are edited by J. S. Charrier, French Master to the Royal Academy Portsmouth, who added a supplement of naval and military terms.

This copy is particularly interesting as the English/French volume appears to be in the “clasped” binding which is mentioned in the London Evening Post advertisement; the other volume though has never had a clasp. We know from the manuscript titles on the upper covers that the set is not mixed so it is curious why they are not uniformly bound.

Stock Code: 215634