A famosa entrada entrada “lexicógrafo” do dicionário de Johnson… “a harmless drudge”. Nem todos o consideraram um “moiro de trabalho” inofensivo. Ainda que em questões de lexicografia, ao definir um tipo de imposto – exicise -, logo armou encrenca com o fisco.
Como se escreve na página da Universidade de Glasgow de onde se fanaram as imagens,
“One definition, that of the word ‘excise’ nearly ended up with Johnson being sued for defamation. When the Commissioners of Excise read the definition they contacted the Attorney General, asking if such a statement was not libellous. Shortly, William Murray answered that he believed that the statement did indeed constitute defamation, but suggested that they should give Johnson the opportunity to change his definition before pursuing legal action. This the Commissioners did, but Johnson stood firm and refused to alter his work, and eventually the same definition was published in later editions. However, for some unknown reason no legal action was ever brought against him, although there is evidence to suggest that the Commissioners did keep watching to see if the statement was ever altered.”