Medieval library at Zutphen

Information for librarians


Information for librarians

The Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources is the key lexical reference work for anyone reading Medieval Latin texts produced in Britain or by British authors.

  • Covers the sixth to the sixteenth century, a longer period than any other dictionary of Medieval Latin available in print
  • Sets out clearly for individual words the full range of meanings found in the medieval period and the kinds of linguistic contexts and works in which they appear, highlighting possible alternative meanings and allusions
  • Illustrates every sense with contemporary example quotations
  • Records the full range of attested variant spellings of words and provides helpful cross-references, making it particularly valuable for researchers working on Medieval Latin manuscript sources of all kinds and on documentary sources in particular

The DMLBS is an essential companion to any collection of medieval Latin texts, including those in modern editions accompanied by facing translations, and an indispensable aid to reading the vast quantity of medieval texts and documents that are not available in translation. Because of its chronological coverage and overall completeness, it is also the single most helpful reference work for readers of texts in Medieval Latin produced elsewhere in Europe.

The Dictionary offers considerable assistance to readers who are less familiar with Latin in general or with the medieval varieties of the language in particular. Because of the tremendous importance of Latin in the middle ages as a language of literature, religion, science, and formal record not only in Britain but across Europe too, the dictionary is an important tool for scholars in a wide range of fields whose work brings them into contact of a less direct or obvious kind with the language. The study of literature, philosophy, theology, science, and many more fields in the middle ages — even when focused primarily on sources written not in Latin but in the everyday languages of the time — is illuminated by an awareness of the contemporary Latin material and the Dictionary makes this material much more accessible.

Print publication

The Dictionary, published by OUP on behalf of the British Academy, is available in print. The Dictionary supersedes the Revised Medieval Word-List.

Cataloguing in publication data for the British Library and Library of Congress is available for the Dictionary.

Electronic publication

The DMLBS is available online on two platforms, one subscription-based, with a full range of search options, and a second free-access, with more limited functionality.