The Recorded Word 追本溯『字』
There is no tool more valuable in learning a language than a dictionary. It puts the meaning of words right at your fingertips and helps you learn how to express yourself clearly. The next time you don't know what an English word means and have to look it up, you should give thanks to a man named Noah Webster.
He was the man responsible for putting together and publishing the first American dictionary, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language, in 1806. It was the first book that truly separated American English from British English. The sequel, An American Dictionary of the English Language, wouldn't be released until over 20 years later. That is because Webster took time to learn 26 languages so that he could find the roots of the more than 70,000 English words included in the book. He would later form a partnership with the Merriam brothers, and the Merriam-Webster brand we know today was born.
Of course, Merriam-Webster isn't the only game in town when it comes to dictionaries. Another big name in the word business is Oxford. The Oxford English Dictionary lays claim to being the largest collection of English word definitions. At present, it defines somewhere around 750,000 words, a truly staggering amount.