The Dictionary of Lost Words

by Pip Williams

Modern and Contemporary Fiction Audiobooks of the Month Historical Fiction Literary Fiction

The Dictionary of Lost Words Synopsis

In 1901, the word bondmaid was discovered missing from the Oxford English Dictionary. This is the story of the girl who stole it.

Esme is born into a world of words. Motherless and irrepressibly curious, Esme spends her childhood in the Scriptorium, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of lexicographers are gathering words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary.

Esme's place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day, she sees a slip containing the word bondmaid flutter to the floor unclaimed. Esme seizes the word and hides it in an old wooden trunk that belongs to her friend, Lizzie, a young servant in the big house. Esme begins to collect other words from the Scriptorium that are misplaced, discarded or have been neglected by the dictionary men. They help her make sense of the world.

Over time, Esme realises that some words are considered more important than others, and that words and meanings relating to women's experiences often go unrecorded. She begins to collect words for another dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words.

Set when the women's suffrage movement was at its height and the Great War loomed, The Dictionary of Lost Words reveals a lost narrative, hidden between the lines of a history written by men. It's a delightful, lyrical and deeply thought-provoking celebration of words, and the power of language to shape our experience of the world.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781473586604
Publication date: 8th April 2021
Author: Pip Williams
Publisher: Vintage Digital
Format: Audiobook
Primary Genre Modern and Contemporary Fiction
Other Genres:
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Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781529113228
Publication date: 20/01/2022
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781784743871
Publication date: 15/04/2021
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781473586604
Publication date: 08/04/2021
Format: Audiobook

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