Monday, August 15, 2011

Robertson: Dictionary of Latin Phrases

A Dictionary of Latin Phrases by William Robertson (1829)

Here is the long title, full of confidence: "A dictionary of Latin phrases: comprehending a methodical digest of the various phrases from the best authors, which have been collected in all phraseological works hitherto published for the more speedy progress of students in Latin composition." This is indeed a very useful book, running to almost 900 pages in length. It is organized alphabetically with English headwords, but unlike a traditional English-Latin dictionary, Robertson provides Latin equivalents not just for English words but for English phrases, citing Latin words and phrases in great abundance. So, for example, under the word "able," you can find the phrase "as far as I am able," glossed with a whole series of Latin words and phrases, with citations, e.g. "He withstood them as well as he was able; quoad potuit restitit; Cic." As an aid to Latin composition, the value of this book is immense!


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