Found via Smithsonian, where I'm finding so much great stuff this morning and wondering why I don't go here all the time.
Somehow I found Chapter 7 "The Age of the Dictionary" the most touching.
Try as [Doctor Johnson] might to stop them, words kept being invented and in 1857 a new book was started which would become the Oxford English Dictionary. It took another 70 years to be finished after the first editor resigned to be an Archbishop, the second died of TB and the third was so boring that half his volunteers quit and one of the ended up in an Asylum.Well summed up. (Even better with the cartoons running.) And I've read "The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary," which takes much longer than 10 minutes to read, but is also truly great, as is the OED itself. I especially love — I'm madly in love with — the OED website, which requires a subscription.
A piece of writing at the end of a document, e.g. the concluding clause or formula of a letter with the writer's signature, the colophon of a book, etc., the note appended to the epistles in the New Testament, etc.No, not that. Cash money. You have to go to definition #7 to get to the money stuff and to #8a to get to the idea we're talking about:
A contribution of money for a specified object; spec. the fixed sum promised or required as a periodical contribution by a member of a society, etc. to its funds, or for the purchase of a periodical publication, or in payment for a book published ‘by subscription’ (see 9).The oldest usage like that comes from 1679 "Had not some of our benefactours been very slow in paying their subscriptions."