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Based on materials from the Tudor, Stuart, Caroline, Commonwealth, and Restoration periods, LEME is a historical database of monolingual, bilingual, and polyglot dictionaries, lexical encyclopedias, hard-word glossaries, spelling lists, and lexically valuable treatises surviving in print or manuscript. The texts of word entries tell us what speakers of English thought about their tongue in the period covered by the Short-title and Wing catalogues. Their lexical insights shaped the history of our living tongue. LEME is not a period dictionary, but a source of contemporary testimony that illustrates word usage. LEME is able to utilize many sources that the Oxford English Dictionary, which covers 1500 years, could not include as a result of its necessary selection of the lexical evidence.