2007 年 2008 巻 40 号 p. 23-36
During the mid-Meiji era a handy dictionary of some three thousand English idioms was published. It was compiled by James Main Dixon, who was then teaching English literature and philology at the Imperial University, Tokyo. Dixon had found that Japanese students had difficulty understanding English idioms since he had started teaching them at the Imperial College of Engineering. He advised his students to read English novels and mark idiomatic expressions, which he collected and compiled to produce the dictionary. His dictionary gave information on the levels of usage of each idiom as well as citations from literary works and journals, and was thus welcomed by the people learning English.
This paper investigated several issues related to the publication of the dictionary, i.e., the year of the publication of its first edition and the possibility of the contribution of Masaki Tachibana, the sole first graduate from the Department of English Literature, Imperial University. As for the first point, the year was determined to be 1888, based on the colophon of the first edition and Dixon's autobiography; while the second point, i.e., Tachibana's possible contribution to the dictionary, was proven not to have been the case.
The paper also surveyed the historical and lexicographical value of the dictionary quoting short reviews by Dixon's contemporaries and referring to the data of the publications of its British editions and a bilingual Chinese edition.