decoding and using the TLL

Over my several months at the TLL, I’ve shared articles from our dictionary with researchers from various disciplines (often not classicists!) and have found myself apologizing for its quasi-cryptic abbreviations and conventions. Thankfully, the TLL’s recently redesigned website provides several helpful pages for reading its entries and understanding its methodology. This is great news because the TLL is meant to be used as a scholarly resource, and the following pages make it much more accessible to all kinds of researchers.

The new website includes a page that clarifies the structure of a TLL article by laying out some features of an article’s preliminary section as well as the organization of its main section. While the preliminary section will be of interest to those looking at etymology and linguistic points such as gender and spelling variants, most people will want to turn to the main section. Before diving into the main section, however, it’s especially helpful to become familiar with our organizational principle of “contrasting subsections” and the criteria for selecting examples—the interactive example article for the verb placeo illustrates many of these points.

Our entries use a variety of Latin abbreviations and typographical symbols, which the new website also clarifies. Unfortunately, there is not yet an on-line edition of the TLL’s Index, the master list of all the authors, editions, and numbering conventions used in the dictionary, and the discursive Praemonendawhich gives a fuller introduction to the structure of articles and a history of the broader project, is only available behind De Gruyter’s paywall. TLL entries themselves, while not publicly available, are published on-line by De Gruyter and can be accessed through many academic libraries. Your university library may also have a hard copy of the TLL in a reference room.