The publication of Webster's Third New International Dictionary in 1961 set off a storm of controversy in both the popular press and in scholarly journals that was virtually unprecedented in its scope and intensity. This is the first full account of the controversy, set within the larger background of how the dictionary was planned and put together by its editor-in-chief, Philip Babcock Gove. Based on original research and interviews with the people who knew and worked with Gove, this is a human story as well as the story of the making of a dictionary. The author skilfully interweaves an account of Gove's character and working habits with the evolution of the dictionary. The reception given Webster's Third – now widely regarded as one of the greatest dictionaries of our time – illuminates public misconceptions about language and the role of dictionaries.