Word of the Day

dictionary

Definition

1. a reference resource which provides information about words and their meanings, uses, and pronunciations. A dictionary may be published as a printed book, or as a digital product such as a website or app, and it may be monolingual, bilingual, or multilingual.
a. a book, website or other resource that lists words in one language and gives translations in another

2. a book, website or other resource which deals with a particular subject, providing the words, phrases, and terms used in that field, with information about their meaning and use



Origin and usage

The word dictionary comes from the Medieval Latin word ‘dictionarium’ meaning ‘a collection of words and phrases’; the Latin word ‘dictionarius’ means ‘of words’. It first appeared in English during the 1520s.

Examples

The word dictionary refers to a printed book or a website or app that is used as a resource to help people determine the proper spelling, definition, and usage of a word. Printed dictionaries can be found in libraries, schools, offices, and homes all over the world.

There’s an old yet little-known tradition among dictionary and other reference book editors known as the ‘fake entry’.

For years, the fake entry has been a way for these editors to prevent plagiarism. Because facts – like dictionary definitions and encyclopaedia entries – cannot be legally copyrighted, editors often include a single, deliberately false entry somewhere within the pages of their books. If they should someday see that false entry in another publication, they’ll know their work has been copied without their permission.

Quotations

“Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”
(Nathaniel Hawthorne)

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

About the author

Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary is an award-winning, one-stop reference for English learners and speakers around the world.

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