Questions 23-33 refer to the following information.
Look It Up!
 Imagine you’re texting someone, and the two of you get into a heated debate.  They correct our spelling.  Finally, to prove your point once and for all, you write a voluminous, paragraph-long text, only to see that your interlocutor has responded, “TL; DR.”  Now, you might know that this means “too long, didn’t read,” but what if you don’t? 23  Well, Urban Dictionary can save the day.  Just type the phrase into Google and see what turns 24 down.  Dictionaries have a way of showing up in every facet of our digital lives. They translate pages in foreign languages.  They define words that we think we know and those we’ve never heard of.  Dictionaries are everywhere. 25
In fact, dictionaries are so prevalent that it’s easy to forget that they 26 have not always existed. The word “dictionary” was in fact not coined until John of Garland published his Dictionarius in 1220 to help readers with their Latin diction. 27 Furthermore, 28 numerous dictionaries appeared throughout the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, the first noteworthy English dictionary came from Samuel Johnson, whose Dictionary of the English Language was published first in 1755. Johnson’s opus remains the first modern dictionary, containing consistent spellings, variant definitions, textual 29 usages, and alphabetical, arrangements. Johnson’s dictionary was the law of the lexicon until 1884, when the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) began its reign, which continues today.
Johnson’s American counterpart was Noah Webster, who published his first dictionary in 1806. Webster’s best-known 30 work An American Dictionary of the English Language, was published in 1828. The text was based in large part on Johnson’s dictionary, though it included 12,000 31 words that had not appeared in previous dictionaries. In addition, Webster was a spelling reformer who thought English spellings were overly ornate and complex. As a result, when Americans write “color” and “gray” where the English write 32 other things, Americans have Noah Webster to thank.
33 What is interesting about these two dictionaries, and about the history of dictionaries in general, is how clearly they show the different directions that language can be pulled. On the one hand, a new dictionary should solidify the language in a new way—it should settle old disputes and give definitive definitions. On the other hand, each dictionary update shows that language is fluid and that no printed word can contain the varieties of language as it is actually used. After all, the OED may have told the world that “selfie” was the word of the year in 2013, but didn’t the world know that already?