What is a Lexicon?
- A word-book or dictionary; chiefly applied to a dictionary of Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, or Arabic.
- Linguistics. The complete set of meaningful units in a language; the words, etc., as in a dictionary, but without the definitions (Oxford English Dictionary).
Our lexicon consists of all of the words from Lunar Baedecker, listed in alphabetical order. It is also part-dictionary; we have chosen to define some of the terms that Loy has selected for her collection, with the hopes that future scholars will continue to expand on our work. Defined can be accessed below, and words selected for defining are 1) difficult terms, or 2) words related to astronomical images, lightness, darkness, seasons, and celestial themes.
Definitions for this index are taken primarily from the 1907 Webster’s International Dictionary of the English Language (abbreviated “MW” within individual entries). If the definition is not found in this dictionary, we turn to the Oxford English Dictionary (abbreviated OED). Loy’s created words are identified as “CW” after the entry.
Definitions are direct quotations but are sometimes shortened for the sake of brevity. If a word has multiple parts of speech, only those relevant to Loy’s poems are included.
Mina Loy, also an inventor, wanted to create a synthetic material that she called chatoyant. In her description of the material, she creates a “Webster’s definition” (Prescott 83). Even if Loy didn’t use this specific version, the 1907 edition provides us with a snapshot of how vocabulary was used in her time. We encourage users to identify not only how a term was used at the turn of the 20th century, but also which definitions may have not yet evolved.
How can I use this lexicon?
The lexicon is set up so that you can access Loy’s word choice in multiple ways. Below, you can choose to view either the words we have defined or the Lunar Baedecker lexicon in its entirety. Within the full lexicon, words are still hyperlinked but do not necessarily give complete information; we hope that future scholars will be inspired to expand upon our work and contribute to our data collection.
Through “tagging” or hyperlinkage between different words by theme, we hope that the lexicon inspires scholars to see new connections between Loy’s vocabulary. The lexicon also aims to adumbrate Loy’s fascination with the celestial and plant the scholarly seeds from which future close readings may grow.