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Noah Webster

Noah Webster (October 16, 1758 - April 15, 1843) was an American lexicographer, textbook author, and spelling reformer.

Webster published his first dictionary of the English language in 1806, and in 1828 published the first edition of his An American Dictionary of the English Language, whose title reveals his ambitions. Webster changed the spelling of many words in his dictionaries in an attempt to make them more phonetic. Many of the differences between American English and other English variants evident today originated this way.

Webster's dictionary was so popular that "Webster's" became synonymous with dictionary to many Americans. As a result, the Webster's name lost trademark protection and is now used by numerous publishers in the titles of their dictionaries. Among these, the Merriam-Webster's dictionary is considered to be the most direct descendant of Noah Webster's lexicographical tradition, the Merriam brothers having purchased the rights to revise the dictionary from Webster's heirs upon his death in 1843.

As of 2002, all editions of Webster's Dictionary published in 1913 and earlier are available in the public domain.

See also: American and British English differences