Historical Figure & Event

Noah Webster published his American Dictionary of the English Language in 1828.

April 14
Calendar Activity Type
Historical Figure & Event

Event Description

Noah Webster is considered by many to be the "father of the American dictionary." He began his work on the project at the age of 43. It took him more than 25 years to complete the first edition. Today Merriam-Webster offers online, CD, and print versions of its Collegiate® Dictionary, currently in its 11th edition with more than 225,000 definitions!

Classroom Activity

Celebrate the publication of Webster's Dictionary using a variation of the board game Balderdash. Divide students into groups of five or six, and provide each group with a dictionary and some blank paper cut into strips:

  • One student scans the dictionary to find a word that he or she believes no one has ever heard before, reads it aloud, and spells it. The other students write down either a real or made-up definition of the word.

  • The student with the dictionary writes the real definition and then collects the other definitions. The leader reads all of the definitions and the students in the group then individually choose which of the definitions they believe is real.

  • Two points are awarded for selecting the correct definition and one point to each student whose definition is selected. Points are totalled and the next person in the circle selects a new word.


This site is the online version of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Students can access the site to look up words and definitions. There is also a Word of the Day to help students build their vocabulary.


This ReadWriteThink interactive allows students to print an alphabet chart or pages for an alphabet book.


At this site, students can search dozens of dictionaries. The resource also provides links to French, German, Italian, and Spanish translation tools.


Word Central, published by Merriam-Webster, offers a kid-friendly student dictionary. Students can also build their own dictionary and take the Daily Buzzword vocabulary challenge.


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