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The Middle English Dictionary is a monumental scholarly endeavor that began in the 1930s and was completed in 2001. The goal of the Middle English Dictionary is to include all meanings, grammatical forms, and spellings of all the words identified by the editors' extensive reading program. Its completion represents the greatest achievement in medieval scholarship in America and the most important single project in current English historical lexicography. After seventy years Middle English Dictionary has produced about 15,000 pages, offering a comprehensive analysis of lexicon and usage, based on the analysis of a collection of over three million citation slips, the largest collection of this kind available.
This new edition of the Plan is a complete reshaping and rewriting of Kurath's original, with an up-to-date history of the project and a comprehensive guide to the entries and their constituent parts. The Bibliography contains a revised list of the texts used in the print dictionary, combining the original Bibliography (1954), the supplemental Bibliography (1984), and the additions made between 1984 and 2001, when the last fascicle was published, and amounts to over 7100 full entries, nearly half again as many as in the original and the supplemental bibliographies combined, with notes on the changes in date, title, manuscript, or edition that took place in the print dictionary between 1952 and 2001.