Using and Evaluating Print Resources
Lesson 5

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Dictionaries

Dictionaries are used to define words, to verify spelling or pronunciation, to check on usage, or to determine the etymological history of a word. They may also contain biographical and geographic information. The term 'dictionary' is often synonymous with 'encyclopedia,' referring to an alphabetical arrangement of entries, regardless of their length.

The granddaddy of dictionaries is the Oxford English Dictionary.
It has 20 volumes and is the definitive dictionary of British English.

Oxford English Dictionary

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has an extensive introduction on vocabulary and word usage. We will even find a history of the dictionary. The OED also provides an extensive history of each word, when it entered the language, and how it has been used through the centuries. This is known as the etymology of a word.

Call #: PE1625 .M7
Location: Reference

The OED online is also available to full time Spring Hill College students and faculty. Look at the entry for the word "transgenosis."

Definition

The OED lists the word as first appearing in 1973 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, volume LXX (70), on page 723.

In addition to traditional dictionaries there are numerous other types as well.

Physician's Desk Reference Drugs--Dictionaries
Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science Women scientists--Biography--Dictionaries
Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy Philosophy--Dictionaries
Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue English language--Slang--Dictionaries

 

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