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PIE word

Borrowed from German Idiotikon, Idioticon (archaic), from Late Latin idioticon (chiefly in the titles of works), from Ancient Greek ἰδιωτικόν (idiōtikón), the neuter singular of ἰδιωτικός (idiōtikós, pertaining to or for a person not engaged in public affairs; private; amateurish), from ῐ̓δῐώτης (idiṓtēs, person not engaged in public affairs; amateur, layperson; ignorant person, idiot) + -ῐκός (-ikós, suffix forming adjectives meaning ‘of or pertaining to’). ῐ̓δῐώτης is derived from ῐ̓́δῐος (ídios, private (as opposed to public); distinct, separate; peculiar, specific) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *swé (self (reflexive pronoun)) + -ώτης (-ṓtēs, suffix forming nouns referring to types of persons). The English word is cognate with Dutch idioticon.[1]

The plural form idiotica is derived from German Idiotika, Latin idiotica, and Ancient Greek ἰδιωτῐκᾰ́ (idiōtiká).[1]



idioticon (plural idiotica or idioticons)

  1. A dictionary of a specific dialect, or of the words and phrases peculiar to one part of a country; a glossary.
    Synonyms: clavis, vocabulary
    • [1842, “IDIO′TICON”, in W[illiam] T[homas] Brande, assisted by Joseph Cauvin, editors, A Dictionary of Science, Literature, & Art: [], London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, [], OCLC 946611697, page 585, column 1:
      IDIO′TICON. (Gr[eek]) A word of frequent use in Germany, signifying a dictionary confined to a particular dialect, or containing words and phrases peculiar to one part of a country.]
    • 1854, “Idioticon”, in Francis Lieber, assisted by E. Wigglesworth and T. G. Bradford, editors, Encyclopædia Americana. [], volume VI, new edition, Philadelphia, Pa.: Blanchard and Lea, OCLC 755034617, page 534, column 1:
      There exist in Germany several valuable Idiotica.
    • 1865, Hensleigh Wedgwood, “To Wipe”, in A Dictionary of English Etymology, volume III, part II, London: N[icholas] Trübner & Co., OCLC 61915812, page 502:
      "Wische," says the Westerwald Idioticon, "expresses a quick movement connected with a whizzing or swishing sound."
    • 1878 May 17, Henry Sweet, “VII.—Seventh Annual Address of the President, to the Philological Society, Delivered at the Anniversary Meeting, Friday, 17th May, 1878”, in Transactions of the Philological Society, volume XXIV, part II, London: Published for the [Philological] Society by Trübner & Co., []; Strasbourg: Karl I. Trübner, ISSN 0079-1636, OCLC 181761493, page 420:
      This gentleman [Titus Tobler] certainly made a greater name by his work on Palestine than by that on the language of his native land; nevertheless this book marks a great advance in the scientific treatment of an Idioticon, particularly through the more accurate specification of the actual sounds and forms of the popular idiom.
    • 1954, C[oenraad] B[ernardus] van Haeringen, “Dialectology”, in Netherlandic Language Research: Men and Works in the Study of Dutch, Leiden: E[vert] J[an] Brill, OCLC 458377956, page 72:
      The ideal [Taco H.] de Beer had in mind, was an "idioticon", which he probably visualized as a dictionary comprising all the Netherlandic dialects. Idiotica were the first results also of Flemish dialectological activities.
    • 1992, Anton M. Hagen, “Dutch Dialectology: The National and International Perspective”, in Jan Noordegraaf, Kees Versteegh, and Konrad Koerner, editors, The History of Linguistics in the Low Countries (Studies in the History of the Language Sciences; 64), Amsterdam; Philadelphia, Pa.: John Benjamins Publishing Company, →ISBN, ISSN 0304-0720, section 1.3 (From the 18th Century till 1876), page 332:
      [T]he Flemings, anxious that the dictionary would turn out to be too 'Hollandic', started collecting their own regional words for a general Flemish idioticon.
    • 1998, Hendrik Boeschoten, “On Dialect Dictionaries”, in Lars Johansen [et al.], editor, The Mainz Meeting: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Turkish Linguistics, August 3–6, 1994 (Turcologica; 32), Wiesbaden, Hesse: Harrassowitz Verlag, →ISBN, ISSN 0177-4743, page 575:
      In Western dialectology, dialect dictionaries as a phenomenon are especially widespread in the German (and, for that matter, in the Dutch) language area, where we find a deeply rooted tradition dating back to the so-called idioticons of earlier centuries.
    • 2019, Gjisbert Rutten, “The Folklorisation of Non-standard Language”, in Language Planning as Nation Building: Ideology, Policy and Implementation in the Netherlands, 1750–1850 (Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics; 9), Amsterdam; Philadelphia, Pa.: John Benjamins Publishing Company, DOI:10.1075/ahs.9, →ISBN, part III (Discipline Formation), page 212:
      While there was a solid tradition of idioticons by that time, dialect lexicography on the other hand only developed into a more scholarly activity by the end of the century [...].

Related terms[edit]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Compare “idioticon, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, November 2010; “idioticon, n.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.

Further reading[edit]



Borrowed from German Idiotikon.


  • IPA(key): /i.diˈoː.tiˌkɔn/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: idi‧o‧ti‧con


idioticon n (plural idiotica or idioticons)

  1. idioticon (dictionary of a certain lect, especially of the terms particular to that lect)