John Jamieson - Encyclopedia




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JOHN JAMIESON (1759-1838), Scottish lexicographer, son of a minister, was born in Glasgow, on the 3rd of March 1759. He was educated at Glasgow University, and subsequently attended classes in Edinburgh. After six years' theological study, Jamieson was licensed to preach in 1789 and became pastor of an Anti-burgher congregation in Forfar; and in 1797 he was called to the Anti-burgher church in Nicolson Street, Edinburgh. The union of the Burgher and Anti-burgher sections of the Secession Church in 1820 was largely due to his exertions. He retired from the ministry in 1830 and died in Edinburgh on the 12th of July 1838.

Jamieson's name stands at the head of a tolerably long list of works in the Bibliotheca britannica; but by far his most important book is the laborious and erudite compilation, best described by its own title-page: An Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language; illustrating the words in their different significations by examples from Ancient and Modern Writers; shewing their Affinity to those of other Languages, and especially the Northern; explaining many terms which though now obsolete in England were formerly common to both countries; and elucidating National Rites, Customs and Institutions in their Analogy to those of other nations; to which is prefixed a Dissertation on the Origin of the Scottish Language. This appeared in 2 vols., 4to, at Edinburgh in 1808, followed in 1825 by a Supplement, in 2 vols., 4to, in which he was assisted by scholars in all parts of the country. A revised edition by Longmuir and Donaldson was issued in 1879-1887.

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