PREFACE. v´i

to make minor changes, occasionally of definitions, but more frequently of references,
these being usefully altered to ap■ly to a printed text in place of the manuscript from
which they had originally been copied. In many entries, usually of minor importance,
the quotations given in the manuscript dictionary were omitted, in order no doubt to
save space, as the entry was thus reduced to one line instead of two or three. On the
other hand, the space given to words of some importance or interest, especially those
relating to Icelandic culture or history, was frequently enlarged and the article made
more informative. The model for the elaborate treatment of the commonest verbs
had already been set by Gislason, whose articles on these also supplied the bulk of the
numerous quotations.

While thus to a great extent making use of, and at the same time improving, the
material ready to his hand, Vigfusson made various additions to it, mainly from Old
Icelandic texts not previously printed, or from the Norse-Danish dictionary of Johan
Fritzner published in 1867. A further addition to the vocabulary was the inclusion of
a number of words not recorded in the older literature, but making their appearance at
any time during or after the fifteenth century. As no systematic collection of these had
ever been made, it was only to a few of them that it was possible to supply a date or a
reference, and Vigfusson cited most of them simply as 'modern' or 'modern word' or
'now freq.', thus unfortunately helping to confirm the idea that there is a definite breach
between 'old' and 'modern' Icelandic. For quite a number of such words dates could
readily have been found in texts with which Vigfusson was familiar, or in the early
dictionaries by Runolfur Jonsson (1651) and Gudmundur AndrÚsson (a 1654). Even
those which are included in the supplement to this edition of the dictionary are no more
than an imperfect attempt to fill the gap still existing between the records of the two main
periods of Icelandic literature.

This Preface, as far as the fourth line of p. vi, is reprinted from that written by
Dean Liddell for the first part of the dictionary, which was published in 1869. The
short paragraph on the same page is partly abridged from the same source; otherwise
the matter on pages vi and vii either has been rewritten or, for the most part, is entirely
new. The Introduction, the life of Richard Cleasby, and the Specimens, occupying
sixty-four pages in the first edition, are omitted in this one and the space added to the

more essential supplement.

W. A. C.