Mediae Latinitatis Lexicon Minus Online

J.F. Niermeyer and C. van de Kieft. Revised by J.W.J. Burgers

J. F. Niermeyer's Mediae Latinitatis Lexicon Minus is a highly practical lexicon, providing researchers, teaching staff and students in the field of Medieval History with concise, essential information. This new online edition, still the “compendious lexicon for rapid information” envisaged by Niermeyer, recreates the second print edition (2002) on Brill’s Dictionary Platform , providing French, English and German translations for every entry of a Medieval Latin concept and searches on lemma and full text: searches can be refined by century of use. All entries are contextualized with relevant text passages. The Niermeyer Lexicon Minus has proved to be invaluable to medievalists for almost 50 years and is an indispensable working tool for academic libraries.

Purchase Access

The version of Niermeyer that forms the basis of Niermeyer Online is the 2nd revised edition (2002) with an estimated 10% new / updated material over the 1st (1976) edition. Features of the 2 nd edition include:

  1. A wider scope:
    1. geographical area (e.g. to include England)
    2. time span (into the 13th century)
    3. type of source material (e.g. university records)
  2. New entries
  3. Updated entries: new examples, additional meanings
  4. Obvious mistakes corrected
  5. German translation of the Latin keywords (along with French and English): widening targeted readership

General characteristics of Niermeyer's Mediae Latinitatis Lexicon Minus:

  • The best concise dictionary of medieval Latin in existence
  • It explores the post-classical Latin language of the Western European Middle Ages from 550 to 1150, tracing the development and use of words.
  • Its practical use to scholars is that
    • It opens up that great body of technical words relating to law and institutions and to the social structures of feudalism encountered early and high medieval sources.
    • It stresses explanations and quotations rather than syntax or etymology;
    • It offers brief definitions in French, German and English
    • It reveals the diversity and change of meanings, produces instances of quotation and use in sources
  • It draws on a wide range of sources, including
    • Chronicles, annals, histories
    • Diplomas, monuments, charters and cartularies
    • letters
    • lives, exempla, miracle collections, passions and martyrologies
    • royal, ecclesiastical and university acta, statutes and visitations
    • collections of civil, customary and canon laws
    • the early medieval Fathers and theologians
  • what does it NOT cover:
    • classical Latin
    • the period after 1155
    • Eastern Europe (and Islamic and Byzantine Europe)
    • the language of scholasticism and technical theology
  • Searching and browsing: the user can undertake direct searches within the dictionary, and browse the list of entries
  • Search options include
    1. lemma / headword
    2. full text
    3. filtering by century
    4. use of wild cards
  • Cross-links are clickable through
  • Most entries are provide with reference to instances in sources
  • Abbreviations are expandable via a mouse hover
  • Features to facilitate browsing while searching the list of entries include
    1. Display of the entry
      • in its context
      • in the form of a word wheel displayed in a side bar
    2. Autofill suggestions appearing under the search bar as the user types in his search
    3. Links to standard spellings of words
  • Language of user interface: English
  • Results can be
    1. printed out via installed printers
    2. emailed / exported to nearly 300 mailing / storage / blogging services such as Gmail, Mendeley, Evernote.