Matthias von Lexer

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Matthias Lexer (1830–92), later Matthias von Lexer (from 1885), was a German lexicographer, author of the principal dictionary of the Middle High German language, Mittelhochdeutsches Handwörterbuch von Matthias Lexer, completed in 1878 in three volumes, sometimes known simply as "the Lexer". This dictionary was founded upon the base of the Mittelhochdeutsches Wörterbuch of Georg Friedrich Benecke and others, completed in 1866.

Between 1855 and 1857, Lexer worked as a teacher at the German School in Kraków. Later he studied at Berlin. Franz Bopp, Moriz Main and Karl Müllenhoff were his academic teachers. In the following years, he worked for a Hungarian royal family as Hofmeister. On the recommendation of the historian Georg Waitz and specialist in German studies Viktor Müllenhoff he was a philological employee at the successful edition project The Chronicles of the German Cities under the leadership of the well-known and highly reputated German historian Karl von Hegel. 1860, he received his PhD at the University of Erlangen under submission of its now completed Kärntischen dictionary . Lexer researches in this period can be traced in his extensive correspondence with Karl von Hegel. [1]

Matthias Lexer from age 30 onward held teaching positions at German universities.

"The Middle High German dictionary [of Matthias Lexer] is noted for its admirably comprehensive coverage of the language of courtly literature.... [It has some] gaps in its medical and scientific vocabulary, and the coverage of legal terminology."[2]


  1. ^ See Marion Kreis: Karl Hegel. Geschichtswissenschaftliche Bedeutung und wissenschaftsgeschichtlicher Standort (= Schriftenreihe der Historischen Kommission bei der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Bd. 84). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen et al. 2012, ISBN 978-3-525-36077-4, p. 221ff. (E-Book)
  2. ^ Graeme Dunphy, "Matthias Lexer", in: Albrecht Classen (ed.), Handbook of Medieval Studies, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010, pp. 2471–74 (quoted from page 2474).

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