Work on the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae (T.L.L.) first began in the 1890s, and, since that time, researchers in Germany have continued the work of the project’s founder, Eduard Wölfflin. The T.L.L., however, is not like other Latin dictionaries:
“Most dictionaries focus on the most prominent or recent meaning of a word; this one aims to show every single way anyone ever used it, from the earliest Latin inscriptions in the sixth century B.C. to around A.D. 600. The dictionary’s founder, Eduard Wölfflin, who died in 1908, described entries in the T.L.L. not as definitions, but “biographies” of words.”
The T.L.L. looks at every use of every Latin word, from graffitti to historical documents, in order to better understand not only the different meanings of a word, but also the use and development of the language over time.
Quote and photo taken from article originally published for The New York Times online on Nov. 30, 2019.
The full, original article can be found here.