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

Examples of encyclopedia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web It is being trained using a collection of data sourced from the web, academic publications, code, books, and encyclopedias. WIRED, 19 Oct. 2023 Apparently a facsimile of the Encyclopedia Britannica, its entries describe people, places and events that the original encyclopedia missed or under-wrote. Briana Miller | , oregonlive, 11 Sep. 2023 The encyclopedias on the shelves served a similar purpose. Adam Himmelsbach, BostonGlobe.com, 30 Aug. 2023 Planners as thick as encyclopedias that encourage you to set daily intentions and monthly priorities. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 14 Sep. 2023 And now for the top contenders, the car salesmen — a sampling, FYI, not an encyclopedia entry. Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times, 30 Aug. 2023 The tome can also be used as an encyclopedia for fans, who’ll find anecdotes—ranging from movements to release dates to nicknames—for each model included. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 23 Aug. 2023 Szabo grew close to his grandparents, who kept a set of encyclopedias at the end of the couch near the TV. Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times, 9 Aug. 2023 Thursday’s action follows similar cases earlier this month against tech giant Apple and the Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts Wikipedia, an open-source online encyclopedia. Francesca Ebel, Washington Post, 17 Aug. 2023 See More

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

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 28 Nov. 2023.

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

from Latin encyclopedia "course of general education," from Greek enkyklios "general, all-around," literally, "circular" and Greek paideia "education, child rearing"

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