The paper discusses the lexicographical treatment of the most frequent signifier terms used in English vernacular medical writing. Using newly available occurrence and frequency data from the Corpus of Early English Medical Writing, the paper suggests changes to the datings and definitions of the medical senses of the signifier terms token, sign, symptom, and accident in the Oxford English Dictionary. A selection of 40 early dictionaries from Palsgrave's Lesclarcissement de la langue francoyse (1530) to the Scott-Bailey A New Universal Etymological English Dictionary (1775) is used as an additional source of information on the changing meanings of signifiers.
Selected Proceedings of the 2005 Symposium on New Approaches in English Historical Lexis (HEL-LEX)
edited by R. W. McConchie, Olga Timofeeva, Heli Tissari, and Tanja Säily Table of contents
ISBN 978-1-57473-412-6 library binding
vi + 184 pages
publication date: 2006
published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA