The Dictionary represents the Latin language as written in the British Isles and by Britons abroad from Gildas (AD 540) to Camden (1600), a canon of more than 2,300 named authors, many anonymous writers, and an archive of diplomatic and administrative documents roughly ten times the size of the literary corpus. It illustrates a continuous tradition of thought and composition in language based upon and derived from the highest literary register of Classical and Late Latin, but also incorporating lexical and syntactic elements from the vernacular languages spoken and written in these islands, Greek, Celtic, Germanic, Romance, and Semitic. The period covered is the longest of any of the national dictionaries of Medieval Latin, the corpus the largest and most varied, and the range of other languages that left traces in the Latin the greatest. The Dictionary is an essential resource for philologists, diplomatists, historians, philosophers, theologians, epigraphers, musicologists, genealogists, and other students of the rich literature of Medieval Latin written over one thousand one hundred years.
The project is closely associated with the Dictionary of Medieval Latin from Celtic Sources sponsored by the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin, sources for which are digitised on a CD-Rom, and with the Novum Glossarium Mediae Latinitatis sponsored by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique at the Institut de France in Paris. It is closely associated also with the Oxford English Dictionary at Oxford University Press, the Dictionary of Old English at the University of Toronto and the Anglo-Norman Dictionary, as the archive includes many words borrowed from vernacular languages in Latin forms, often hundreds of years earlier than the first recorded usage in the vernacular.