Samuel Johnson compiled the first ever English dictionary. Getty Images

Monday’s Google Doodle honored English author Dr. Samuel Johnson on the 308th anniversary of his birth. Johnson, born in 1709, is known most famously for his “A Dictionary of the English Language,” a comprehensive reference tome containing more than 42,000 entries.

Johnson’s most notable work, published in 1755, took more than nine years to put together. The dictionary was used for more than 150 years before being replaced by the “Oxford English Dictionary.”

“Johnson’s dictionary was more than just a word list: his work provided a vast understanding of 18th century’s language and culture,” Google said. “His lasting contributions guaranteed him a place in literary history. Today we pay homage to this pioneer lexicographer who dedicated years to his craft.”

Google Doodle
Google's Monday Doodle honored Samuel Johnson. Google

And while his dictionary remains his best-remembered work, Johnson also wrote long-form poetry, fiction, biographies and analysis of authors such as Shakespeare. His life and work were chronicled in “Life of Samuel Johnson,” a biography written in 1791 by James Boswell.

“Samuel Johnson was a fine poet, a good if solemn essayist and an inspired critic of other people’s writings,” Adam Gopnik wrote about Johnson in The New Yorker. “But the Johnson we remember is the one James Boswell wrote down.”

For a man who contributed one of the most influential dictionaries to society, Johnson had a rather tumultuous education. The author attended Pembroke College in Oxford for a time but eventually dropped out because he couldn’t afford it. And according to his writings, Johnson appeared to have some disdain for his education.

“Although he excelled in his formal studies, he took no relish in them. He recalls his teachers as strict and violent,” said Brown University’s Krysta Ryzewski. “In his dictionary, he defined ‘school’ as a ‘house of discipline and instruction.’ It is interesting to note the order in which he chose to offer these designations.”

Johnson died in 1784 at the age of 75, but his legacy lives on today: a bronze statue of the author stands on Fleet Street in London and his name is attached to a prominent nonfiction writing prize.

Samuel Johnson compiled the first ever English dictionary. Getty Images