Anne Lister's Dictionary

Published on 23 February, 2021 · Last updated on 6 September, 2022

Miss Lister's peculiar vocabulary

Anne Lister's vocabulary was a product of her time as well as her extensive reading and determination to improve her level of education. Readers of her journals frequently come across terms that are uncommon, no longer used, obscure, or that she had adapted for her own convenience.

More often than not, she uses these intriguing words without proper context leaving new readers puzzled or baffled by her turns of phrase, sometimes flipping between languages mid-sentence.

This project aims at collecting all of Anne Lister's peculiar words choices and uses, which will help casual readers and researchers alike to better understand her through her journals, letters, notes and accounts.

English, Greek, Latin... Franglais?

Whether using them in a hurried entry of her travel journals or a love letter, Anne Lister ensured her words were chosen with care to convey exactly what she meant to others.

Sometimes there are interesting uses (or creations) that might outrage many a linguist but, more often than not, she's not wrong in their application. Explore to see how she bends language to her will.

The Yorkshire Historical Dictionary is a dictionary with over 4,000 historic Yorkshire terms!

This incredible resource allows you to search for specific terms, see which words are connected to specific places, and gives you access to many other resources.

Ever wondered if that strange word Anne seems to love is used around Halifax? Now you can find out.

Reference: Anne Lister's dictionary


This project is made possible through ongoing contributions from the following people:

  • Adeline Lim

  • Alison Kirchgasser

  • Amanda Pryce

  • Dawn Susan

  • Jan Webster

  • Jane Kendall

  • Janneke Van der Weijden

  • Jenna Beyer

  • Julie Honnold

  • Kerstin Holzgraebe

  • Lívia Labate

  • Lynn Shouls

  • Marlene Oliveira

  • Nga Huynh Phuong

  • Pauline M.

  • Steph Gallaway

How to contribute to this project

You can contribute by adding new terms that come up as you transcribe and read the journals and letters, or you can help expand on the definitions and information explaining the terms already identified.

Getting access

If you are already contributing to other projects, simply open the spreadsheet and start editing. You already have editorial access.

If this is your first time contributing:

  1. Request access. Please include an email address that is associated with a Google account (this is the only requirement to participating in this project). If you don't have one, here's how to do it.

  2. You will receive an email confirming you have been given access.

  3. Once granted access, you can open the spreadsheet and start adding a new entries to the dictionary.

Data entry conventions

  • Data in this spreadsheet is entered in the language Anne Lister uses it in her writing, and explained in English. We do not enforce any particular English spelling.

  • Please preserve the original spellings of words as written by Anne Lister. Given she often makes mistakes, include also the correct version for findability.

  • The spreadsheet is organized alphabetically with labeled sections. When adding a new entry, identify where it should go in the correct alphabetical order and insert a new row in that position. (Select the row immediately below, right click and add row above).

Cover photo: ActionVance