James Howell's Lexicon Tetraglotton (1660) frontispiece,
Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
Read more about this image

LEME searches and displays word-entries from monolingual English dictionaries, bilingual lexicons, technical vocabularies, and other encyclopedic-lexical works, 1480-1755. More...

Word of the day
Ostracisme, In Athens A condemnation and confining for ten yeeres space of that person, who was thought to grow greater in wealth, reputation and opinion of vertue or otherwise, than the democratie or free popular estate would well beare, ordained first by Clisthenes: who for his labour was himselfe first condemned. It tooke the name of Ostratos, a shell or little potsherd, wherein his name was written, whom any of the people was in that behalfe offended with; and meant to expell the city. And if the major part of the people noted one in this maner, he was sent a­way. It differed from banishment, because no person lost by Ostracisme goods or lands: againe the time was limited, and the certaine place set downe, where he should abide. In this sort Aristides the just, valiant Themistocles and other good men were driven out.
The Roman History Written by T. Livius, trans. Philemon Holland (1600)

Ian Lancashire, Editor. We welcome your comments and questions.
University of Toronto Libraries TAPoR Toronto University of Toronto Press