from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A reference work containing an alphabetical list of words, with information given for each word, usually including meaning, pronunciation, and etymology.
  • noun A reference work containing an alphabetical list of words in one language with their translations in another language.
  • noun A reference work containing an alphabetical list of words in a particular category or subject with specialized information about them.
  • noun A list of words stored in machine-readable form for reference, as by spelling-checking software.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A book containing either all or the principal words of a language, or words of one or more specified classes, arranged in a stated order, usually alphabetical, with definitions or explanations of their meanings and other information concerning them, expressed either in the same or in another language; a word-book; a lexicon; a vocabulary: as, an English dictionary; a Greek and Latin dictionary; a French-English or an English-French dictionary.
  • noun Synonyms Glossary, Lexicon, etc. See vocabulary.
  • Pertaining to or contained in a dictionary.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A book containing the words of a language, arranged alphabetically, with explanations of their meanings; a lexicon; a vocabulary; a wordbook.
  • noun Hence, a book containing the words belonging to any system or province of knowledge, arranged alphabetically

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A reference work with a list of words from one or more languages, normally ordered alphabetically and explaining each word's meaning and sometimes containing information on its etymology, usage, translations, and other data.
  • noun computing An associative array, a data structure where each value is referenced by a particular key, analogous to words and definitions in a physical dictionary.
  • verb transitive To look up in a dictionary
  • verb transitive To add to a dictionary
  • verb intransitive To appear in a dictionary

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a reference book containing an alphabetical list of words with information about them


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Medieval Latin dictiōnārium, from Latin dictiō, dictiōn-, diction; see diction.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Medieval Latin dictionarium, from Latin dictionarius, from dictio ("speaking"), from dictus, perfect past participle of dīcō ("speak") + -arium ("room, place").



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  • Fun Fact about English:

    There are somewhere between 450,000 and 600,000 unique words in the various English dictionaries (OED, MW).

    December 20, 2006

  • Another fun fact:

    Modern English is rooted almost equally in Latin, French and Germanic. The percentages, provided by Oxford Dictionaries, are below:

    Latin, including modern scientific and technical Latin: 28.24%

    French, including Old French and early Anglo-French: 28.3%

    Old and Middle English, Old Norse, and Dutch: 25%

    Greek: 5.32%

    No etymology given: 4.03%

    Derived from proper names: 3.28%

    All other languages contributed less than 1%

    December 20, 2006

  • Derren Brown memorized the dictionary.

    January 22, 2008

  • Ho. Lee. Cow.

    January 22, 2008

  • I like looking up "dictionary" in dictionaries and seeing how the definitions of themselves vary

    February 26, 2008

  • The Onion Historical Archives has an article about this.

    October 7, 2008

  • now has *free* auditory pronunciation. I'm not too dismayed to learn that I've been mispronouncing the s-word.

    October 11, 2008

  • Like Wordie, but with photos. :-)

    February 26, 2009

  • Oh, wow!

    February 26, 2009

  • I never understood why a dictionary is considered good for learning the correct way to spell a word. If I don't know how the word is spelled, how can I look it up in the dictionary?

    February 27, 2009