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Lexicographical Discoveries in the English Sidrak* The Middle English encyclopedic dialogue Sidrak and Bokkus has received varying degrees of attention from lexicographers. One manuscript (Laud Misc. 559) and the early sixteenth-century printed edition of Thomas Godfray are listed in the bibliography to OED, but there are very few quotations from either of them in the body of the dictionary - indeed I am aware of only two from each (s.v. ~\File, sb.4 'A worthless person' and Incoming, vbl. sb., t2. "Place of entrance' from Laud [wrongly identified under the former as Douce]; s.v. Wasteness, 2. 'An uninhabited region' and ^Wone, a., 1. 'Accustomed, wont' from Godray), although there must assuredly be others that have escaped m y notice. There was apparently no text of Sidrak available to thefirsteditors of MED since the work is not listed at all in the Plan and Bibliography of 1954 and the only quotations from it in the early volumes are taken over directly from OED (s.v. file, n. (2), l.a. [repeating the error of Douce for Laud] and incoming(e, ger., (e)). This gap led to the publication some dozen or so years ago of a collection of nearlyfiftyadditions to the standard historical dictionaries brought to light in a preliminary investigation of Sidrak.1 Shortly thereafter, however, a transcript of M S Landsdowne 793 (the fullest surviving version in English) became available to the editors of MED2 - and from lorn- onwards Sidrak appears in the quotations with a frequency which is a just reflection of the work's value as a witness to the language of the late fifteenth century (see, e.g., s.v. lome, n., l.(a); loselri(e, n.; loth, adj., 2.(c); louten, v. (1), 2.(c); lurdan, n., (d); maidenhede, n. 2.(c); etc). There remains, however, a large body of linguistic material in other manuscripts of Sidrak (some of which differ substantially from Lansdowne [L]) and it is the purpose of this article to list such lexicographical discoveries (revealed by continuing work on Sidrak) as would otherwise escape notice, since they occur in sources outside the bibliography for MED. *The research which gave rise to the writing of this article was supported by grants from the University of Adelaide and the Australian Research Grants Scheme, to both of which bodies grateful acknowledgement is made. It is a pleasure to be able to record here also m y gratitude for the assistance of Robin Eaden in collecting and arranging words for the glossary of m y proposed edition of Sidrak, and of Bernadette Masters in elucidating innumerable obscurities in the language of the French manuscripts. fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Antedatings, Postdatings and Additions to O.E.D., M.E.D. and D.O.S.T. from "Sidrak and Bokkus", Notes and Queries 218, 1973, 369-75. The dictionaries concerned are The Oxford English Dictionary; Middle English Dictionary, ed. Hans Kurath et al., Ann Arbor, 1952-; A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue from the Twelfth Century to the End of the Seventeenth, ed. Sir William A. Craigie and A.J. Aitken, Chicago, 1937-. 2 See the recent Plan and Bibliography, Supplement I, 1984, s.v. *Sidrak and B. 72 TL. Burton At the time of writing MED has reached the end of the letter R. This article excludes all words from L thereafter, on the assumption that they will in due course be gathered in MED's highly efficient net. It includes mainly words from manuscripts other than L (but excluding the printed edition) and words in L from a to hi- (i.e., from before the transcript of L came into the possession of MED). Doubtful cases and those which require more discursive treatment than would be warranted in a list of this kind are excluded:3 the list embraces only such as are more or less self-defining, of which the meaning, in Johnson's memorable phrase, "is apparently determined by the tract and tenour of the sentence".4 In order to establish the meaning of the word in question beyond reasonable doubt, however, the illustrative quotations given here are generally longer than those for which dictionaries have space. In the extracts...


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