Matthias von Lexer

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Matthias von Lexer (approx. 1875–1880)

Matthias Lexer , since 1885 Ritter von Lexer (born October 18, 1830 in Liesing im Lesachtal , † April 16, 1892 in Nuremberg ) was an Austrian - Bavarian Germanic medievalist and lexicographer .


After a high school education , which he graduated with the final examination in 1851, Lexer began to study law in Graz . After a short time, however, he switched to German Philology , within the framework of which he began to examine the dialectal vocabulary of Carinthia .

Between 1855 and 1857 Lexer worked as a substitute teacher at the German grammar school in Krakow , after which he continued his training in Berlin under teachers such as Franz Bopp , Moriz Haupt or Karl Müllenhoff . In the following years he worked as court master for a Hungarian princely family . In 1860, on the recommendation of the historian Georg Waitz and the German scholar Viktor Müllenhoff, he became a philological assistant in the successful edition project The Chronicles of German Cities , which were published under the direction of the Erlangen historian Karl Hegel on behalf of the Historical Commission at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences in Munich . In the same year he did his doctorate with the help of his employer Karl Hegel at the University of Erlangen using his meanwhile completed Carinthian dictionary . Lexer's research work during this time can be traced in his extensive correspondence with Karl Hegel.

In 1863 he retired as a research associate of the Chronicles project, which he remained but further connected in the following period by honorary activities and began as an adjunct professor at the University of Freiburg to work, in 1868 he became a professor of the University of Wuerzburg in to which he was also elected to the Senate two years later. His son, the future surgeon Erich Lexer , was born in 1867.

From 1868 Lexer devoted himself to the creation of his Middle High German Concise Dictionary , which was published in three volumes in 1878. In 1879 the first edition of his Middle High German Pocket Dictionary was finally published , six years later its third as the last edition . In the years between 1881 and 1889 Lexer worked on the continuation of the German dictionary of the Brothers Grimm , from 1882 to 1886 he also edited the Baierische Chronik by Johannes Aventinus .

Matthias Lexer was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Bavarian Crown in 1885 and, as a knight of Lexer, was raised to the personal nobility due to the statutes of the order . In 1890 he was appointed to the highest school council of the Kingdom of Bavaria .

Shortly after Matthias von Lexer accepted a call from the University of Munich in 1890 , he died on April 16, 1892 in Nuremberg from the consequences of severe pneumonia . His body was buried in the Johannisfriedhof in Nuremberg .

In 1971 the Lexergasse in Vienna- Donaustadt (22nd district) was named after him, and in 2010 in Würzburg the Matthias-Lexer-Weg as part of the new faculty site. The primary school in his birthplace Liesing also bears the name Dr. Matthias von Lexer - elementary school .


  • Carinthian dictionary. 1862 ( digitized version ).
  • Concise Middle High German dictionary. At the same time as a supplement and alphabetical index to the Middle High German dictionary by Benecke-Müller-Zarncke. 3 volumes and supplements. Leipzig (1869) 1872-1878; numerous reprints: Hirzel, Stuttgart (1960, 1970, 1979,…) 1992 (obtained from Kurt Gärtner ), ISBN 3-7776-0488-7 and ISBN 3-7776-0487-9 ( to the online dictionary , additions 1878 ).
  • Middle High German pocket dictionary in the last edition. 1882, (2nd edition of the 3rd edition from 1885, 1958 supplemented with a supplement. 24th edition, with supplements by Ulrich Pretzel , Stuttgart 1974. With a foreword by Erwin Koller, Werner Wegstein and Norbert Richard Wolf and a biographical outline by Horst Brunner, Hirzel, Stuttgart 1992, ISBN 3-7776-0494-1 ).


Web links

Wikisource: Matthias Lexer  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. See in particular Marion Kreis: Karl Hegel. Historical significance and scientific history location (= series of publications of the Historical Commission at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. Volume 84). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen et al. 2012, p. 221ff.
  2. ↑ Interesting facts from the Lesach Valley , accessed on May 6, 2017.