Chapman, Robert L(undquist) 1920-2002

views updated

CHAPMAN, Robert L(undquist) 1920-2002

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born December 28, 1920, in Huntington, WV; died January 27, 2002, in Morristown, NJ. Lexicographer, educator, and editor. Chapman was a man of many words. He is best remembered as the lexicographer who brought Roget's International Thesaurus into the twentieth century. The thesaurus, first published by Peter Mark Roget in 1852, is notable because it groups words by theme rather than strictly by definition. Chapman edited the fourth edition of the work in 1977, but it was his fifth edition, published in 1992, that expanded the compendium with more than 50,000 new words—including colloquialisms such as "AIDS," "yuppie," "hacker," and "crack" (as in cocaine)—that were unknown in Roget's time. Chapman was reported to be one of the few lexicographers willing to exploit computer databases in his relentless search for new words. Chapman also added several new categories to reflect modern interests and new technologies, such as fitness and exercise, computer science, and substance abuse. Chapman taught medieval English literature at several eastern U.S. colleges, including a stint at Drew University in New Jersey from 1966 to 1986. Previously he had worked as a lexicographer and dictionary editor for the New York City publishers Funk & Wagnalls Company and Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Chapman's other publications included a dictionary and a thesaurus devoted to American slang.



Florida Times-Union, February 8, 2002.

Grand Rapids Press, February 7, 2002.

Los Angeles Times, February 24, 2002, obituary by Elaine Woo, p. B16.

New York Times, February 5, 2002, obituary by Margalit Fox, p. A23.

St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, FL), February 6, 2002.

Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ), February 6, 2002, obituary by Rudy Larini, p. 31.

Washington Post, February 10, 2002, p. C8; February 25, 2002, p. B6.

About this article

Chapman, Robert L(undquist) 1920-2002

Updated About content Print Article