The “German Dictionary”, which the Grimms began in 1838, is probably their greatest and most extensive work.
The brothers initially thought they could complete this project within seven to ten years, but it was not to be. The dictionary took more than 120 years and the involvement of generations of researchers and compilers to finish.
The reason: Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm wanted to record every single word of New High German – the language established with Luther’s translation of the Bible – and document the origin and use of these words.
Today’s “German Dictionary” contains more than 320,000 individual word entries, but the Brothers only got as far as the letter “F” in their lifetime. This is why the incredible story of the “Grimm”, as the dictionary is commonly known, is told in the FROTEUFEL (“DEMON”) section of the permanent GRIMMWELT exhibition. This entry was the last that Jacob completed before his death.
17. December 1837 | The Brothers are expelled from Göttingen
The story of the “German Dictionary” begins with a political scandal.
After eight years at the University of Göttingen, the Brothers are confronted with the dissolution of the constitution by King Ernst August I. of Hannover in 1837. Together with five academic colleagues, they protest against what they consider to be the arbitrary abolition of the rule of law by the state, upon which the “Göttingen Seven” are stripped of their professorships, and Jacob and two of his colleagues are exiled from the Kingdom of Hannover.
They leave the town in mid-winter, escorted by a group of students.
Find out how the story continues in the FROTEUFEL section.
The comprehensive linguistic work “German Dictionary” is now available in electronic form as a database with search function.
67,744 text columns
Approx. 320,000 keywords
Weight 84 kg