The Dictionary Society of North America was formed in 1975 to bring together people interested in dictionary making, study, collection, and use. Our more than 400 members who live in 40 countries around the world include people working on dictionaries, academics who engage in research and writing about dictionaries, dictionary collectors, librarians, booksellers, translators, linguists, publishers, writers, collectors, journalists, and people with an avocational interest in dictionaries.
The only requirement for membership is an expression of interest in language, words, dictionaries, lexicography, or any combination of these.
Members receive a semi-annual newsletter that gives information about the Society and its members, dictionaries or lexicographic research in progress or recently published lexicography courses and workshops, and recent or forthcoming conferences of lexicographic interest. Twice a year they also receive Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America, containing forums on issues in lexicography; articles or notes and queries on the making, critique, use, collection, and history of dictionaries, including sketches of lexicographers; descriptions of significant dictionary collections; reviews of dictionaries and books on lexicography or closely related topics; and bibliographies on various aspects of lexicography. A digital membership directory is also maintained. Other occasional publications are issued.
We meet every other year to make or renew acquaintances with other lexophiles and to present and hear papers about dictionaries. Biennial meetings have been held in Terre Haute, Indiana; Urbana, Illinois; London, Ontario; Cincinnati, Ohio; Newark, Delaware; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Philadelphia; Cleveland; Columbia, Missouri; Las Vegas; Madison; Berkeley; Ann Arbor (in connection with the celebration of the completion of the Middle English Dictionary, the first fascicle of which was published in 1952); Durham, North Carolina; Boston; Chicago; Bloomington, Indiana; and virtually in 2021.
The Dictionary Society of North America was founded by participants in a colloquium entitled “Research on the History of English Dictionaries” held at Indiana State University, in Terre Haute, Indiana, on May 20–21, 1975. As stated in its handbook, “The purpose of the Society is to foster scholarly and professional activities relating to dictionaries” (defined as lists of words or other vocabulary items, with information about their meaning or other linguistic properties). “The Society shall carry out its stated purpose by promoting the exchange of information and ideas among members through meetings, research projects, publications (such as a newsletter, a journal, bibliographies, directories), and any other means it may deem appropriate.”