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A General Dictionary of Provincialisms

A General Dictionary of Provincialisms

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Excerpt from A General Dictionary of Provincialisms: Written With a View to Rescue From Oblivion the Fast Fading Relics of by-Gone Days

After a labour of some years, I have at length succeeded, as far as my slender means, and still slenderer abilities will permit, in the compilation of a Dictionary of Provincial Words. But, though I have accomplished my task, I feel some diffidence, and some misgivings as to its success with the public. I fear the task is very inefficiently executed; and even were it a more correct performance, I am doubtful whether it is one that is likely to suit the public taste. Many friends have laughed at the pains I have bestowed upon it, while one has even told me that the only object to be obtained by it, was that of teaching well-educated persons to speak patois. After this, I was almost tempted to abandon the work in despair, and I verily believe I should have done so, had it not been for the following observation which I met with in the Quarterly Review for February, 1836, No. 110, on the subject of Provincial Words, viz: - "If he (Mr. Stevenson,*) and his fellow-labourers will collect all the words which deserve a place in an archaic and provincial glossary, accompanied with data for ascertaining their meaning, they will be entitled to the thanks of the public, whether their etymologies are right or wrong."

Encouraged by these and other observations, I persevered, and now I humbly present the fruits of my labour to the judgment of a scrutinizing, but just public.

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