en·​cy·​clo·​pe·​dia in-ˌsī-klə-ˈpē-dē-ə How to pronounce encyclopedia (audio)
: a work that contains information on all branches of knowledge or treats comprehensively a particular branch of knowledge usually in articles arranged alphabetically often by subject

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The three bachelors formed the Cliff Cottage Club and lived in a Queen Anne-style cottage on the eastern edge of the bluff, wrote historian Eileen Fitzsimons in the Oregon Historical Society’s digital encyclopedia. oregonlive, 21 Nov. 2022 Miguel Sapochnik, a co-showrunner on the fantasy drama with Ryan Condal, became the cast's own living encyclopedia of fire-breathers. Nick Romano, EW.com, 11 Aug. 2022 The online political encyclopedia Ballotpedia on Wednesday named Oregon as one of the top four governor’s races to watch this fall, along with Kansas, Arizona and Nevada. oregonlive, 28 Sep. 2022 Hahn is a walking encyclopedia of nearly all things related to the arena. San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Nov. 2022 Both women are an encyclopedia of shirt styling inspiration. Halie Lesavage, Harper's BAZAAR, 11 Oct. 2022 Tim McGraw, for example, is an encyclopedia of '70s and '80s songs. Steve Baltin, Forbes, 3 Oct. 2022 This is children’s nonfiction at its best: as engaging as a story and as informative as an encyclopedia. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 29 July 2022 In hindsight, putting the encyclopedia online is a no-brainer. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, 20 Oct. 2022 See More

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

Word History


Medieval Latin encyclopaedia course of general education, from Greek enkyklios + paideia education, child rearing, from paid-, pais child — more at few

First Known Use

1644, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of encyclopedia was in 1644

Dictionary Entries Near encyclopedia

Cite this Entry

“Encyclopedia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/encyclopedia. Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



variants also encyclopaedia
: a work that contains information on all subjects or one that covers a certain subject thoroughly usually with articles arranged alphabetically
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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