Ogilvie, John (1797-1867) (DNB00)

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OGILVIE, JOHN (1797–1867), lexicographer, son of William Ogilvie, farmer, was born in the parish of Mamoch, Banffshire, on 17 April 1797. His mother was Ann Leslie, daughter of a farmer in a neighbouring parish. After receiving some elementary education at home, and attending the parish school for two Quarters, Ogilvie worked as a ploughman till he was twenty-one. In 1818, in consequence of an accident, one of his legs had to be amputated above the knee. Afterwards Ogilvie taught successively in two subscription schools, in the parishes of Fordyce and Gamrie, both in Baniffshire. At the same time, by assiduous study and with the help of a neighbouring schoolmaster, he prepared for the university, and in October 1824 he entered Marischal College, Aberdeen. Adding to his income by private tuition, he graduated M.A. on 14 April 1828. He remained in Aberdeen as a tutor till 13 May 1831, when he was appointed mathematical master in Gordon's Hospital, an important educational establishment in the city. Marischal College conferred on him the honorary degree of LL.D. on 15 Jan. 1848. He retained his mastership till July 1859. He died of typhoid fever at Aberdeen on 21 Nov. 1867.

To the 'Aberdeen Magazine,' 1831-2, Ogilvie contributed, under the signature 'Iota,' ten spirited 'Imitations of Horace' in the Scottish dialect. In 1836 he worked for Blackie & Son's annotated edition of Stack- house's 'History of the Bible.' Messrs. Blackie engaged him in 1838 to revise and enlarge Webster's 'English Dictionary,' the result being the 'Imperial Dictionary, Engliah, Technical, ana Scientific,' issued in parts from 1847 onwards,and published complete in 1850, and supplement 1855. In 1863 Ogilvie issued an abrid^ent of the 'Dictionary,' under the title 'Comprehensive English Dictionary, Explanatory, Pronouncing, and Etiological,' the pronunciation being supennsed by Mr. Richard Cull. In 1866 appeared the 'Students' English Dictionary, Etymological, Pronouncing, and Explanatory,' in which etymology and definitions received special attention. A feature of all three dictionaries was their engravings, the 'Imperial' claiming to be the first after Bailey's to use pictorial illustrations. Ogilvie's last work was a condensation of the 'Students' Dictionary,' entitled 'English Dictionary, Etymological, Pronouncing, and Explanatory, for the use of Schools,' 1867. At his death he was revising the 'Imperial Dictionary,' which was reissued in 1882-3, under the editorship of Dr. Charles Annandale. On 15 Nov. 1842 Ogilvie married Susan Grant, daughter of a farmer near Stonehaven, Kincardineshire. She predeceased him on 20 May 1853, leaving two daughters and a son.

[Memoir prefixed to Imperial Dictionary; Walker's Bards of Bon-Accord, 1887.]

T. B.