en·​cy·​clo·​pe·​dic in-ˌsī-klə-ˈpē-dik How to pronounce encyclopedic (audio)
: of, relating to, or suggestive of an encyclopedia or its methods of treating or covering a subject : comprehensive
an encyclopedic mind
an encyclopedic collection of armor
encyclopedically adverb

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In Greek, paidaea meant not simply "child-rearing" but also "education", and kyklios meant "general;" thus, an encyclopedia is a work broad enough to provide a kind of general education. The world's most eminent general encyclopedia, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, is a huge work that covers every field of human knowledge. But encyclopedic doesn't have to refer to books; it's often used to describe the wide-ranging knowledge that certain types of minds just can't stop acquiring.

Examples of encyclopedic in a Sentence

She published an encyclopedic study of ancient Egypt. The event was described in encyclopedic detail. his almost encyclopedic knowledge of movies
Recent Examples on the Web Some of Hunter Biden’s associates worry that Ziegler, with his sometimes-wild theorizing combined with an encyclopedic knowledge of Hunter Biden’s history, will influence the public discussion as well as the House probes of the president’s son. Meryl Kornfield, Anchorage Daily News, 17 Sep. 2023 David Aaron, a former prosecutor who worked with Edelstein on that case, said she is known to have an encyclopedic knowledge of all the evidence in her cases, easily able to refer to any previous court filing. Perry Stein, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Sep. 2023 The solution was Bruce Goldstein, an affable New Yorker with an encyclopedic knowledge of cinema. Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, 7 Sep. 2023 Russia’s Campaign for Global Counter-Revolution (Oxford University, 603 pp., $29.95) is a trudge to read, but its encyclopedic descriptions can yield interesting details and some solid tactical analysis. Thomas E. Ricks, New York Times, 13 July 2023 And what was amazing was the encyclopedic knowledge that Chris and Anthony and Phil had, to get us through the day. Town & Country, 16 Aug. 2023 Anyone who has an encyclopedic knowledge of American history—or has watched this summer's other, non-Barbie, blockbuster hit, Oppenheimer—could tell you the life and legacy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Kelsey Mulvey, House Beautiful, 10 Aug. 2023 Side hustles for know-it-alls Notably, your knowledge doesn’t need to be encyclopedic or broad. Kathy Kristof, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 Aug. 2023 The report — compiled through exhaustive research by politicians, historians and economists and swayed by comments from the community over 12 public hearings — is encyclopedic in size. Curtis Bunn, NBC News, 6 July 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1824, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of encyclopedic was in 1824

Dictionary Entries Near encyclopedic

Cite this Entry

“Encyclopedic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/encyclopedic. Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


variants also encyclopaedic
: of or relating to an encyclopedia
: covering a wide range of subjects
encyclopedic knowledge

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