If Webster wrote the first dictionary, where did he find the words?
Good question but you are crediting the wrong man, Webster’s dictionary didn’t actually appear until the year 1806 and maybe credited as being the first definitive American dictionary of the English language.
However the main honour should rightfully go to Samuel Johnson, who published his Dictionary of the English Language in the year 1755 and even that was not the first dictionary to be attempted there were others but Johnson’s was considered to be the definitive work until the completion of the Oxford English Dictionary, in 1919.
The Language is after all English, not American although you could credit Webster for the misspelling of many English words and therefore inventing Americanese !
So the answer to your question is he probably borrowed a copy of Johnston's dictionary from the local library....
He probably got his words from the first, English dictionary by Robert Cawdrey, 1604, then Thomas Blount, 1656, and Johnson in 1755, Webster was very late in the dictionary stakes, creating his in 1806.
Of course, the question still stands, where did Cawdrey get his words from:-)
An aside, the Chinese and Greeks had dictionaries much earlier than these.
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