Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ash, John (1724?-1779)

ASH, JOHN, LL.D. (1724?–1779), lexicographer, was born in Dorsetshire about 1724. He studied for the ministry at Bristol, under Folkett; became pastor of the baptist church at Loughwood, Dorsetshire, and while there contributed to periodicals. He settled in the ministry at Pershore, Worcestershire, 1746, as the result of a compromise between different parties in the congregation. He obtained the degree of LL.D. from Scotland, 1774, and died at Pershore in March or April 1779, aged 55. He was author of 'Introduction to Lowth's English Grammar,' 1766; 'New and Complete Dictionary of the English Language,' 2 vols. 1775, 2nd edition 1795 (incorporates most of Bailey's collection of canting words, and many provincial terms, with no nice discrimination: best known for the blunder under 'curmudgeon,' which Johnson derived from cœur méchant, on the authority of an 'unknown correspondent;' Ash gives it as 'from the French cœur unknown, méchant correspondent'); 'Sentiments on Education,' 2 vols. 1777; Sermon, 1778; 'Dialogues of Eumenes.'

[Funeral Sermon, by Dr. John Evans; and Walter Wilson's Manuscripts at Dr. Williams's Library.]

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