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How many words is a picture worth?

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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter

Writing definitions for real world objects has always been a challenge for EFL lexicographers – without using technical language, it’s quite tricky to pin down in words the difference between a chamois and an antelope, or a cedar and a sequoia. That is why, as part of our last few updates of Macmillan Dictionary, we have added images of real-world items to many entries. Some of the main categories that have been enhanced by images are flowers, fruit and vegetables, trees, birds, animals both wild and domestic, and dogs. If you need to cheer yourself up, just have a browse of the dog pictures (including puppies).

We have recently added couple of hundred more images, this time focusing on different types of food, and musical instruments. For the food entries, take a look at gateau, ice-cream cone, chilli and brazil nut, for example. Some of the entries for musical instruments have the sound of the instrument as well; you can hear it by clicking on the musical note before the definition. Take a look at flute or tuba. Some entries have had more than one image added, to go with the different meanings. They include sponge, keyboard and pipe.

The addition of these images is all part of the process of making Macmillan Dictionary as complete and as helpful as possible. We hope you agree that, as well as aiding understanding, the images are an asset to the dictionary in their own right.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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