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Editorial On 6-9 May 2001, the Dictionary Society of North America held its biennial conference at the University of Michigan, in order to celebrate completion of the Middle English Dictionary (MED), a seventyone -year-old project of the University, and the electronic publication of the MiddleEnglish Compendium. The program (devised by Richard W. Bailey, Robert E. Lewis, Frances McSparren, and Paul Shaffner) was remarkable , both for its focus and its variety. DSNA conferences are usually plenary, so that all who attend can hear all of the papers presented . But the Ann Arbor conference ran parallel sessions: at each scheduled period, one session represented the Society's interest in all matters lexicographical, and another focused on the Middle English Dictionary and historical lexicography. Of course, there were plenary lectures, too, brilliant ones, by E. G. Stanley, John Simpson, and Robert E. Lewis, revised versions of which form the core of this special issue of Dictionaries; all of the other articles (except that by Norman Blake) were also presented in earlier versions at the Ann Arbor conference . This issue is dedicated to the many lexicographers who compiled the MED, from Clark Northup of Cornell University, who was editor for three years before the project moved to Michigan, to Robert E. Lewis, the dictionary's last Editor-in-Chief, and the editors who saw the last fascicle into print. It is likewise a tribute to successive generations of production staff - typists, copy editors, and assistants. And it congratulates the University of Michigan for its unwavering support of the project, to the many faculty members from across the university who served at one time or another (or in Richard W. Bailey's case, for decades) on the committees that nurtured and sustained the project, to the Rackham School of Graduate Studies and later the Office of the Vice President for Research for their administrative and financial support . It thanks those besides the university who funded the project, especially the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, but also several other foundations and private donors. And it applauds the University of Michigan Press, which stands shoulder to shoulder with other great publishers of dictionaries because it published the MED. For all of the energy, expertise , and money expended to make this great dictionary, a collection of articles celebrating its completion is a meager token of professional esteem , but a necessary one. For the editor of this journal, who learned his first lessons in lexicography while an assistant on the MED, this issue has been a labor of love and respect. He would like to thank Richard W. Bailey and Robert E. Lewis, who first proposed the idea of a special issue on "The Middle English Dictionary and Historical Lexicography" and who, with characteristic generosity and editorial insight, reviewed all of the contents and, I think the authors of the various articles would agree, contributed considerably to the quality of what we offer here. ...


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