dictionary

noun
dic·​tio·​nary | \ ˈdik-shə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce dictionary (audio) , -ˌne-rē \
plural dictionaries

Definition of dictionary

1 : a reference source in print or electronic form containing words usually alphabetically arranged along with information about their forms, pronunciations, functions, etymologies, meanings, and syntactic and idiomatic uses
2 : a reference book listing alphabetically terms or names important to a particular subject or activity along with discussion of their meanings and applications
3 : a reference book listing alphabetically the words of one language and showing their meanings or translations in another language
4 : a computerized list (as of items of data or words) used for reference (as for information retrieval or word processing)

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Synonyms for dictionary

Synonyms

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Examples of dictionary in a Sentence

Famed for his dictionary, "Rambler" essays and The Lives of the English Poets, Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) remains one of the most-quoted and carefully observed authors who ever lived. Publishers Weekly, 21 July 2008 I still read relatively slowly in Yiddish, with frequent recourse to a dictionary, and my first year of graduate school found me at my desk till two or three in the morning every night … — Aaron Lansky, Outwitting History, 2004 Look it up in the dictionary. try to develop the habit of going to the dictionary whenever you encounter an unfamiliar word
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Recent Examples on the Web During parts of the competition, she was seen carrying around a Diné-English dictionary to help with the translation of impromptu questions. The Salt Lake Tribune, 19 Sep. 2021 Bruce Summers who was a senior supervisor of payments at the Federal Reserve and retired as director of Federal Reserve Information Technology, recommended leaving the definition on immediately to the dictionary rather than specify timing. Tom Groenfeldt, Forbes, 30 Aug. 2021 Yasuhiro Wakabayashi was born in Shanghai on Nov. 3, 1930, one of five children of Japanese parents officially living in China because his scholarly father was compiling a Japanese-Chinese dictionary. BostonGlobe.com, 19 Aug. 2021 Yasuhiro Wakabayashi was born in Shanghai on Nov. 3, 1930, one of five children of Japanese parents officially living in China because his scholarly father was compiling a Japanese-Chinese dictionary. New York Times, 18 Aug. 2021 My Spanish-English dictionary has only the verb (to despoil, to shed leaves) and the plural noun (the spoils of war, mortal remains, rubble, waste). New York Times, 15 Sep. 2021 The third element is the frequent use of a dictionary to eliminate misunderstandings. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 9 Aug. 2021 But my hunger for precision, my ravenous inner dictionary, wants a single term, one word that gives me something to call myself. Safia Elhillo, Harper's BAZAAR, 6 July 2021 One scholarly effort to produce an inter-Korean dictionary has identified more than 300,000 words that are used differently in the two nations. Dasl Yoon, WSJ, 21 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dictionary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dictionary

1526, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dictionary

borrowed from Medieval Latin dictiōnārium, name for an alphabetized guide to the Vulgate, earlier dictiōnārius, name for a Latin textbook in which words are grouped by topic (apparently coined by its author, the 13th-century English-born university teacher John of Garland), from Latin dictiōn-, dictiō "speech, (in grammar) word, expression" + -ārius, -ārium -ary entry 1 — more at diction

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Time Traveler for dictionary

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The first known use of dictionary was in 1526

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Dictionary Entries Near dictionary

diction

dictionary

dictionary catalog

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Last Updated

10 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dictionary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dictionary. Accessed 15 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for dictionary

dictionary

noun

English Language Learners Definition of dictionary

: a reference book that contains words listed in alphabetical order and that gives information about the words' meanings, forms, pronunciations, etc.
: a reference book that lists in alphabetical order the words of one language and shows their meanings or translations in a different language
: a reference book that lists in alphabetical order words that relate to a particular subject along with their definitions and uses

dictionary

noun
dic·​tio·​nary | \ ˈdik-shə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce dictionary (audio) \
plural dictionaries

Kids Definition of dictionary

1 : a book giving the meaning and usually the pronunciation of words listed in alphabetical order
2 : a reference book explaining words of a particular subject listed in alphabetical order a medical dictionary
3 : a book listing words of one language in alphabetical order with definitions in another language

More from Merriam-Webster on dictionary

Nglish: Translation of dictionary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dictionary for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dictionary

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