Lexicons of Early Modern English (LEME)

(Entry based on Editor information)

Lexicons of Early Modern English (LEME) is a collection of searchable Early Modern lexical works, hosted by the University of Toronto Library and published by the University of Toronto Press (2006-). It gives scholars unprecedented access to early books and manuscripts that document the English language from the beginning of printing in England to 1702. With 196 monolingual, bilingual, and polyglot dictionaries and glossaries (in which either source or target language is English), as well as spelling lists, linguistic treatises, and encyclopedic or topical works, LEME provides exciting opportunities for research for historians of the English language. Contemporary speakers of Early Modern English describe the meaning of words, and their equivalents in languages such as French, Italian, Spanish, Latin, Greek, Old English, and other tongues encountered then in Europe, America, and Asia. LEME offers:

  • 634,000 searchable word-entries (simple, wildcard, Boolean, and proximity)
  • searches can be limited by author, date, language, text title, genre and subject, STC/Wing number, and word-entry parts (headword, explanation)
  • a bibliography of over 1200 primary lexical texts, indexed by date, author, title, and subject, and offering secondary historical and critical literature, with biographical information on lexicographers
  • browsable page-by-page transcriptions of analyzed lexicons
  • a selection-list of editorially-lemmatized headwords
  • a list of all word-spellings in the database
  • introduction, help, and information on editorial procedures
  • continuously extended and updated: see the "What's New" file

Editor: Ian Lancashire
Library liaison: Sian Meikle
Database programmer: Marc Plamondon

Graphic Design: Gordon Belray

Funding: Grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and from McMaster University's TAPoR Project (Text Analysis Portal for Research) have generously supported the development of LEME. TAPoR (Toronto) was funded by a research infrastructure grant of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Ontario Innovation Trust (OIT).

Reference lines and copyright

This computer database is protected by copyright law and international treaties. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this database, or any portion of it, may result in civil and criminal penalties and will be prosecuted to the maximum extent possible under the law.

Use of the online database is subject to these Terms and Conditions.

Lexicons of Early Modern English. Ed. Ian Lancashire. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Library and University of Toronto Press, 2014. Date consulted: [date month year]. URL: leme.library.utoronto.ca


See the online help file at http://leme.library.utoronto.ca/help/index.cfm.


Ian Lancashire


Public Version of LEME
The public version of LEME, accessible at: http://leme.library.utoronto.ca/, allows anyone, anywhere, to do simple searches on the multilingual lexical database -- which includes major monolingual English and bilingual English-French-Italian-Latin-Spanish dictionaries -- but lacks advanced retrieval options. The entire bibliography of primary texts is also available.

Licensed Version of LEME
The licensed version of LEME is a full-featured scholarly resource for original research into the entire lexical content of Early Modern English. It offers simple and advanced searches, including regular-expression and sub-string queries, and proximity and Boolean searches. The size of search contexts is adjustable. Queries on the lexical database may be restricted by date, author, title, type of lexical work, and subject. A complete word-list of the lexical database may be browsed. An index to over 1,200 known lexical works in the period may be searched by date, author, title, subject, and genre.

For subscription info:


Journals Division, University of Toronto Press