New Module - Lewis & Short, A Latin Dictionary

Written by Michael Hanel on July 16th, 2011

As I hinted at earlier when I blogged about the new Latin resources in BibleWorks 9, I said that the Whittaker’s Words glosses were completely insufficient for getting a true sense of what a word meant and how it was used. For that one needs a lexicon, not just a list of glosses.

The Lewis and Short Lexicon is a standard academic lexicon for the Latin language. It represents a great expanse of scholarship. If you want to read more about it, you can check the Wikipedia entry.

In some respects, the much more recent Oxford Latin Dictionary (OLD) replaces the Lewis & Short Dictionary - it uses a much more rigorous academic method, similar to what is used for the Oxford English Dictionary - the OLD covers a much smaller history of the Latin language. If you’re purely into Classical Latin, Oxford Latin Dictionary is a must, but that doesn’t mean the Lewis & Short has no value. If you plan to read beyond the classical canon, you really need a resource like Lewis & Short. Thus one truly needs both of these lexica rather than the one or the other! Plus the Lewis & Short, published in 1879 is in the public domain, making it much more widely available.

The implementation for this dictionary is 99% due to the work of Pasquale Amicarelli. He’s actually had this project completed for some time, but the initial version of it was quite large and slow. I had meant to find some way to make it better, but got extremely delayed until recently when I found a way to make it much smaller and quicker by incorporating better CSS management. I also added color to the dictionary entries so citations stood out.

A few more notes on the implementation:

  • The way to access this lexicon is through the BibleWorks menu. It will be found under Resources|Latin Resources.
  • There are two ways to navigate. One is to type in the dictionary word you wish to look up (the word *must* be the dictionary form. This is not a parsing tool.). The other way is to navigate by seeing the list of dictionary words and clicking on the appropriate word. The floating menu makes it possible to click to skip to a different letter of the alphabet.
  • You can change the size of the fonts on the HTML menu bar, but some of the sizes create problems for the floating menu. The only way around this for now is to find the optimal size for the menu, if you wish to use it. And if you need the entries larger, you’ll have to click back and forth.
  • There is no way to send words to this program. So you have to have this window open and type in words (or click on their link) if you wish to look them up.


In order to get modules to work, be sure to do the following:
Step 1. Download the file as found on this page.
Step 2. Unzip the file into your databases subfolder of BibleWorks
Step 3. Right click on the CHM file (it’ll look like all other HTML help icons), go to Properties and make sure the box for Block is unchecked.
Step 4. Start up BibleWorks and the module is available either through the Menu system (under Resources).
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