With the ninth edition (Webster`s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (WNNCD), published in 1983), the College adopted amendments that distinguished it as a separate entity and not just as a shortening of the Third New International (whose main text has remained virtually unrevised since 1961). Some proper names were returned to the word list, including the names of the Knights of the Round Table. The most notable change was the inclusion of the date of the first known citation of each word to document its entry into the English language. The eleventh edition (published in 2003) contains more than 225,000 definitions and more than 165,000 entries. Sometimes a CD-ROM of the text is included. In 1806, Webster published his first dictionary, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language. In 1807, Webster began two decades of intensive work to expand his publication into a comprehensive dictionary, An American Dictionary of the English Language. To help him track the etymology of words, Webster learned 26 languages. Webster hoped to normalize the American language, as Americans in different parts of the country used slightly different vocabulary and spelled, pronounced, and used words differently.
Noah Webster`s main competitor was a man named Joseph Emerson Worcester, whose 1830 Complete Dictionary of Pronunciation and Explanation of the English Language charged Webster with plagiarism. The rivalry continued by Merriam after Webster`s death in what is often referred to as „dictionary wars.“ After Worcester`s death in 1865, the revision of his Dictionary of the English Language was soon discontinued and it was finally exhausted. Noah Webster`s assistant and later main competitor, Joseph Emerson Worcester, and Webster`s son-in-law, Chauncey A. Goodrich, published an abbreviation of Noah Webster`s American Dictionary of the English Language of 1828, in 1829, with the same number of words and Webster`s full definitions, but with abbreviated literary references and expanded etymology. Although it was more financially successful than the original 1828 edition and was reprinted several times, Noah Webster criticized it.  The abbreviation of Noah Webster`s dictionary by Worcester and Goodrich was published in 1841 by White and Sheffield, by E. Sanderson in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, and again in 1844 by the publishers Harper and Brothers of New York City in 1844 with words added as an appendix. After Webster`s death in 1843, the unsold books and all copyright rights and the name „Webster“ were purchased by brothers George and Charles Merriam, who then hired Webster`s son-in-law, Chauncey A. Goodrich, a professor at Yale College, to oversee the revisions. Goodrich`s new and revised edition appeared on 24 Sept. 1847 and a revised and expanded edition in 1848, which added a section with indexed illustrations to the text.
His revisions remained close to Webster`s work, but removed what later editors called his „excesses.“ Since the publication of the third book in 1961, Merriam-Webster has reprinted the main text of the dictionary with only minor corrections. To add new words, they created an addendum section in 1966 that was included in the first issue, which was expanded in 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1993 and 2002. However, the rate of additives was much slower than in the last hundred years. After the purchase of Merriam-Webster by the Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. in 1964, a three-volume version was published for many years as a supplement to the encyclopedia. At the end of the third volume, this edition contained the Britannica World Language Dictionary, 474 pages of translations between English and French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish and Yiddish. A CD-ROM version of the full text with thousands of additional new words and definitions from the „Addenda“ was published by Merriam-Webster in 2000 and is often packaged with the print edition. The third edition was published in 2000 on the Merriam-Webster website as a subscription service. Get the most reliable and up-to-date definitions of Merriam-Webster. Find word meanings, pronunciation, origin, synonyms and more.
So many dictionaries of different sizes and qualities have been called Webster`s that the name no longer has a specific brand meaning. [Citation needed] Nevertheless, many people still recognize and trust the name. Thus, Webster`s continues to be a powerful and lucrative marketing tool. [Citation needed] In recent years, even established dictionaries with no direct connection to Noah Webster have adopted his name, adding to the confusion. Random House dictionaries are now called Random House Webster`s, and Microsoft`s Encarta World English Dictionary is now Encarta Webster`s Dictionary. The dictionary, now called Webster`s New Universal, no longer even uses the text from the original Webster`s New Universal Dictionary, but is a newly commissioned version of the Random House Dictionary. In response to Joseph Worcester`s revolutionary dictionary of 1860, A Dictionary of the English Language, the G. & C. Merriam Company is a heavily revised edition, A Dictionary of the English Language. It was edited by Noah Porter, a professor at Yale University, and published in 1864 with 114,000 entries.
It was sometimes called the Webster Mahn edition because it included revisions by Dr. .C. A. F. Mahn, which replaced untenable etymologies based on Webster`s attempt to conform to biblical interpretations of the history of languages. It was the first edition to largely revise the work of Noah Webster, and the first to be known as unabridged. Later prints included additional documents: an „addition to additional words and definitions“ with more than 4,600 new words and definitions in 1879, a biographical dictionary with more than 9,700 names of notable people in 1879, and a Pronouncing Gazetteer in 1884. The 1883 print of the book was 1,928 pages and measured 81/2 inches (22 cm) wide, 111/2 inches (29 cm) high and 41/4 inches (11 cm) thick.
The 1888 print (revision?) is similar in size, with the last page number printed „1935“, which has additional content on the back (i.e. page 1936) and ends with „Whole page number 2012“. This dictionary contains Noah Porter`s foreword from 1864 with postscripts from 1879 and 1884. Webster dictionaries were a redefinition of Americanism in the context of an emerging and unstable American socio-political and cultural identity. Webster`s identification of his project as a „federal language“ shows his competing impulses for regularity and innovation in historical terms. Perhaps the contradictions of Webster`s project were part of a larger dialectical game between freedom and order in revolutionary and post-revolutionary political debates. In 1843, after Webster`s death, George Merriam and Charles Merriam obtained the rights to publish and revise the 1840 edition of the dictionary. They published a revision in 1847 that did not change any main text, but simply added new sections, and a second update with illustrations in 1859. In 1864 Merriam published a considerably expanded edition, which was the first version to modify Webster`s text, revising much of his work, but retaining many of his definitions and the title „An American Dictionary.“ This marked the beginning of a series of revisions, which were described as „unabbreviated“ in terms of content. In 1884, it contained 118,000 words, „3,000 more than any other English dictionary.“  Austin (2005) explores the intersection of lexicographic and poetic practices in American literature and attempts to conceive of a „lexical poetics“ with Webster dictionaries.
It shows how American poetry inherited webster and drew inspiration from his lexicography to reinvent it. Austin explains the key definitions in the Compendious (1806) and American (1828) dictionary, bringing a number of concerns to his discourse, including the politics of American English, the question of national identity and culture in the early moments of American independence, and the poetics of quotation and definition. .