Catholicon (trilingual dictionary)

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Device of the printer Jehan Calvez 1499

Catholicon (from Greek Καθολικόν, meaning "universal") is a 15th-century Breton-French-Latin dictionary. It is the first Breton dictionary and also the first French dictionary. It contains six thousand entries and was compiled in 1464 by the Breton priest Jehan Lagadeuc. It was printed in 1499 in Tréguier. A manuscript of the dictionary is preserved in the national library in Paris identified as Latin 7656.

This Catholicon is referred to by some historians as the Catholicon Armoricum, in reference to Armorica which is a name for Brittany in Latin. It is a different dictionary than the Catholicon Anglicum which is an English-Latin dictionary compiled at very nearly the same time in England. The Catholicon Armoricum is also to be distinguished from the Catholicon of John of Genoa a dictionary dated late 13th century written in Italy.


  • Le Catholicon, reproduction of Jehan Calvez's edition (5 November 1499) from a copy at Rennes, edited by Christian-J. Guyonvarc'h, Éditions Ogam, Rennes, 1975
    • --do.--New edition issued by éditions Armeline, Brest, 2005
  • Catholicon de Jehan Lagadeuc, dictionnaire breton, français et latin, edited by René-François Le Men, Éditions et impression Corfmat, Lorient, 1867
  • Le vocabulaire breton du Catholicon (1499), le premier dictionnaire breton imprimé breton-français-latin de Jehan Lagadeuc, edited by Gwennole Le Menn, (Bibliothèque bretonne; 11.) Imprimerie Keltia Graphic, Edition Skol (Spézet), 2001
  • "Le Catholicon de Jehan de Lagadeuc", by Pierre Trepos, in Annales de Bretagne, year 1964 pages 501-552.

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