Handlist of Medieval Latin and French Dictionaries
Handlist of Medieval Latin and French Dictionaries

Handlist of Medieval Latin and French Dictionaries

[Image above page from a 15th-century Latin-German dictionary. Badische Landesbibliothek, Donaueschingen 54, f.1r. Credit.]

This is a handlist of dictionaries useful for those working with medieval Latin and French (langues d’oïl) texts. I’ve divided it into sections based on whether the text is written with particular regions in mind (Belgium, France, Ireland and the UK, etc) or are more generally useful for patristic and medieval Latin. Given my own particular areas of interest and research, this list is heavily weighted towards texts written northwestern Europe. It doesn’t claim to be inclusive and further suggestions are welcome.

Belgium | France | Ireland and the UK | Patristic and Medieval Latin


Thesaurus linguae scriptorum operumque latino-belgorum medii aevi. 1st part. Le vocabulaire des origines à l’an mil. 5 vol., Brussels: Académie royale de Belgique, 1986.



Algirdas, Julien Greimas. Dictionnaire de l’ancien français jusq’au milieu du XIVe siècle. Paris: Larousse, 1969.

A portable single volume dictionary which draws heavily on Godefroy’s dictionary, but not on the corrections incorporated in the second part of that work.


Algirdas, Julien Greimas and Teresa Mary Keane. Dictionnaire du moyen français: la Renaissance. Paris: Larousse, 1992. (Last reprint, 2007)

Covers the period 1340-1611. Portable single volume.


Baldinger et al. Dictionnaire étymologique de l’ancien français. Québec-Tübingen: Presses de l’université Laval-Niemeyer, 1971-

Words are grouped by etymological families to make the links between them clearer. Covers mid-9th to the mid-14th centuries. Scheduled for completion in 2017.

Available online: [Link]


Bonnard, Jean and Amédée Salmon. Lexique de l’ancien français. Paris, 1901. (Most recent reprint Paris: Champion, 2003)

Abridgement of Godefroy’s Dictionnaire de l’ancienne langue française. Incorporates some amendments and additions. More portable.


Dictionnaire du moyen français (1330-1550).

Complements the Tobler-Lommatzch dictionary (see below). Based on a corpus of wholly or partially digitised texts.

Available online: [Link]


Di Stefano, Giuseppe. Dictionnaire des locutions en moyen français. Montréal: CERES, 1991.

A dictionary of idioms and phrases.


Godefroy, Frédéric. Dictionnaire de l’ancienne langue française et de tous ses dialectes du IXe au XVe siècle. Paris, 1881-1902. 10 vols.

Particularly useful for non-literary texts and for its coverage of the 14/15th centuries. Volumes 1 to 8 (Part 1) cover words which have disappeared from modern French or whose meaning has changed since the Middle Ages. Volumes 8 (Part 2) to 10 give the words used in modern French whose meaning is the same or very close to that used in medieval French, together with corrections.

The first nine volumes are available in .pdf format on the Gallica website: [Link]

Accompanying bibliography available online: [Link]


La Curne de Sainte-Palaye, Jean-Baptiste de, Dictionnaire historique de l’ancien langue françois ou Glossaire de la langue françoise depuis son origine jusqu’au siècle de Louis XIV. Paris, 1875-82. 10 vols.

Published only a century after the author’s death; as a work of the 18th century, it’s not rigorous and should be used with care.

Available in .pdf format on the Gallica website: [Link]


Tobler, Adolf and Erhard Lommatzch. Altfranzösisches Wörterbuch. Vols. 1-10, Berlin, 1925-76. Vol. 11, col. 1-768, u-vonjement, Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1989-95. Vol. 11, col. 769-938, vonjement-zure, Stuttgart: Steiner, 2002.

The standard reference dictionary for medieval French literature. Focuses on the 11-14th centuries.

Digital version available through the University of Stuttgart, for online search or download: [Link]


Ireland and the UK

Harvey, A.J.R., ed. Dictionary of medieval Latin from Insular Celtic sources. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 1979.

Covers the 5th-12th centuries.

Latham, Ronald Edward, ed. Revised medieval Latin word list from British and Irish sources. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1965. Repr. 1980. (New revised edition of J.H. Baxter, C. Johnson and P. Abrahams, Medieval Latin Word List from British and Irish sources, 1934).

Covers period to 1500. 20,000 words. Now superseded by the Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources (see below).

Latham, Ronald Edward, David Howlett and Richard Ashdowne, eds. Dictionary of medieval Latin from British sources. London: British Academy; Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1975-2013. 17 vols.

Covers the period 500-1600, with 58,000 entries drawn from both literary and documentary texts.

See the project website for discussion of planned digitisation: [Link]


Rothwell, William, ed. Anglo-Norman Dictionary, Second Edition. London: Maney Publishing and online, 2005-. (New revised edition of Louise W. Stone and William Rothwell, eds., Anglo-Norman Dictionary, 1977-1992, 7 volumes.)

Covers French texts written in England from 1066 to the middle of the 15th century; also useful for Norman texts and more generally for continental French. The second edition is still in progress and is now available online only.

Digital version, for online search: [Link]


Patristic and Medieval Latin

Blaise, Albert. Dictionnaire latin-français des auteurs chrétiens. 1st edition, Strasbourg: 1954. New revised edition, Turnhout: Brepols, 1967. (Repr. 1993).

A dictionary of Patristic Latin, also useful for monastic authors or those drawing on the writing of authors to the end of the Merovingian period.

————. Dictionnaire latin-français des auteurs du Moyen Age. Turnhout: Brepols, 1975. Repr. 1986, 1988.

Useful especially for religious terminology.

Cappelli, Adriano. Dizionario di abbreviature latine ed italiane. Milan, 1912.

A must-have reference work on scribal abbreviations for those working on Latin or vernacular manuscripts, though it’s more of a starting point than it is universal coverage.

A scanned version of the German language edition of Capelli can be found at this site via the University of Köln: [Link]


Du Cange. Glossarium ad scriptores mediae et infimae latinitatis. 1st ed. Paris, 1678.

Main editions: Paris, 1733-36, 6 vols. by the Benedictines of Saint-Maur, with additions. Completed by Carpentier in 1766 (4 vols.), with additions.

Ed. G.A.L. Henschel, Paris: Didot, 1840-50, 7 vols. Contains additions. Vol. 7 contains a French-language glossary and an index of authors.

Ed. L. Favre, Niort, 1883-87, 10 vols. Many reprintings.

Digital version available through the École des chartes website: [Link]

Hoven, René. Lexique de la prose latine de la Renaissance. Leiden: Brill, 1994.

Uses corpus of 150 Latin authors from Petrarch to Lippe. Useful for Latin texts of 14/15th centuries.

Lewis, Charlton T. and Charles Short. Harpers’ Latin Dictionary: A New Latin Dictionary Founded on the Translation of Freund’s Latin-German Lexicon. New York, 1879.

Largely superseded by the Oxford Latin Dictionary as far as classicists are concerned, but it remains useful for medievalist because it covers Late and Medieval Latin, though inconsistently.

Available online through the Perseus website: [Link]


Niermeyer, Jan Frederik. Mediae latinitatis lexicon minus. Leyde: Brill, 1954-76. 2 vols. Repr. in 1 vol., 1984, 1993, 1997. 2nd edition, Leyde: Brill, 2002, 2 vol.

Covers the period 550-1550. Provides French and English translations and example dates. Especially covers legal and institutional language; weaker on philosophical, scientific, and literary terms and for later medieval Latin.

Novum glossarium mediae latinitatis. 

The “new Du Cange.” Begun in 1920, covers the period 800-1200.

Digital version available through Glossaria website: [Link]

Sleumer, Albert. Kirchenlateinswörterbuch. 2nd edition. Limburg, 1926. Repr. Hildesheim: Olms, 1990.


Last updated: August, 2019


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