Reuben Alcalay

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Reuven Alcalay ראובן אלקלעי (Jerusalem, 1907 - Jerusalem, 1976) was an Israeli lexicographer[1] and author of the most comprehensive English-Hebrew-English dictionary, which expanded the dictionaries of Ben-Yehuda, Avraham Even-Shoshan, Judah Even Shemuel (Kaufmann), Meir Medan, Harry Torczyner (Tur-Sinai), and Jacob Knaani.

His Complete English-Hebrew dictionary (1961, 2,150 pages) aimed to contain all the modern Hebrew terms decided upon by the Hebrew Language Academy, and thousands of other new coinages from the Hebrew press literature.[2] The first edition received a three page review in the magazine of the American Jewish Congress in 1964.[3] The companion volume, Complete Hebrew-English Dictionary, (מילון אנגלי עברי שלם) was published 1965.

Only the columns were numbered and not the pages. In the 1st edition in 8 (4+4) volumes and the following smaller sized in 2 (1+1), 4,270+2,860 refers to the number of columns - 2 per page. Hence the number of pages is 2,135+1,430. In subsequent editions from the 1960s and those titled 'Revised' from the 1970s and 1980s in 2 (1+1) or 3 (2+1) volumes with a 24-col./12-page Hebrew-English supplement added, those numbers are 4,270+2,884 and 2,135+1,442 respectively. In the New Enlarged Edition published since 1990 in 3 (2+1) or 5 (3+2) volumes - 4,270+2,932 and 2,135+1,466. This is just an old-fashioned dictionary of modern Hebrew and not of the modern "learner's" type nor a dictionary of biblical Hebrew. It contains only the entries and their translations without the pronunciation, examples, etc.


  1. ^ A history and guide to Judaic dictionaries and concordances: Volume 3, Part 1 - Page 91 Shimeon Brisman - 2000 For twenty years he worked for the British Mandatory Government, first as translator, later as director of the Press Bureau and as a press censor. With the establishment of the State of Israel, he edited the publications of the Office."
  2. ^ The Israel digest of press and events in Israel and the Middle East: Volumes 4-5 1961 NEW DICTIONARY COMPLETED The fourth and last volume of the Complete English-Hebrew Dictionary, by Mr. Reuben Alcalay, has now been published by Massada, Tel Aviv. The new dictionary contains all the modern Hebrew terms decided upon by the Hebrew La coined by the Hebrew press and in literature.
  3. ^ Judaism: Volume 13; Volume 13 American Jewish Congress - 1964 "Alcalay's dictionary mirrors this dramatic growth by including, among thousands of other new words, terms for:" Though generally meritorious, the dictionary suffers from several serious weaknesses which the compiler would do well to correct before attempting an enlarged, revised edition. In his introduction Alcalay states that "taking into