dictionary

noun

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

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
Recent Examples on the Web Written by a career lexicographer with an infectious love of the English language, this ode to the dictionary is full of fun facts for linguistics lovers, as well as intimate stories that nerds of all stripes can enjoy. The Week Us, theweek, 16 Apr. 2024 The dictionary took Webster over two decades to complete and was among the first to include American-specific words. Mason Callejas, The Arizona Republic, 13 Apr. 2024 Others were simply invented by a special committee, then inserted in classroom instruction and dictionaries, where some stuck and some didn’t. Nick Danforth, Foreign Affairs, 6 Jan. 2015 The pair began work on the Deutsche Wörterbuch, which is considered the most extensive German dictionary today. Aaron Boorstein, Smithsonian Magazine, 31 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for dictionary 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dictionary.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1526, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of dictionary was in 1526

Dictionary Entries Near dictionary

Cite this Entry

“Dictionary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dictionary. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

dictionary

noun
dic·​tio·​nary ˈdik-shə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce dictionary (audio)
plural dictionaries
1
: a reference source in print or electronic form giving information about the meanings, forms, pronunciations, uses, and origins of words listed in alphabetical order
2
: a reference book that lists in alphabetical order terms or names important to a particular subject along with explanations of their meanings and uses
a law dictionary
3
: a reference book giving words of one language and their meanings in another
an English-French dictionary
Etymology

from Latin dictionarium "dictionary," from earlier diction-, dictio- "words, speaking," from dicere "to say" — related to dictate

More from Merriam-Webster on dictionary

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