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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University Washington and Lee University The University Library

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Reference Resources: Dictionaries

Recommended Resources

Bilingual Dictionaries

This is a collection of bilingual dictionaries published by Oxford University Press, searcheable as a group or individually.
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Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

The OED is the accepted authority on the history of words in the English language. It is the most important guide to the meaning and history of over a half-million words, both past and present, tracing the meanings of these words through the use of over 2.5 million quotations, drawn from a wide range of sources. The database contains the Second Edition and additions, including quarterly updates of at least 1,000 new and revised entries.
The library also has the first and second editions in printed form.
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Oxford Reference Online

Compilation of over 200 reference books (encyclopedias, dictionaries, more),containing millions of entries, published by Oxford University Press. You can search an entire category ("History") or one book at a time.
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Bilingual Dictionaries

This is a collection of bilingual dictionaries published by Oxford University Press, searcheable as a group or individually.
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Brewer's Dictionary Of Phrase And Fable

Over 18,000 identifications of historical/literary allusions. (1898 edition)
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Cambridge Dictionaries Online

Several English language dictionaries.
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Concise Dictionary Of World Place Names

Published in 2005. Contains 8,000 entries on the history, meanings, and origin of an enormous range of country, region, island, city, and town names from around the world.
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Devil's Dictionary

Ambrose Bierce's famous collection.
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Dictionary Of Architecture And Landscape Architecture

Revised edition (2006) of James Stevens Curl's 1999 Dictionary of Architecture, now with over 6,000 entries.
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Dictionary Of Chinese Characters: Accessed By Phonetics

2008 volume arranges "frequently used characters under the phonetic element they have in common, rather than only under their radical," encouraging students to link characters according to their phonetic.
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Dictionary Of Psychology

Second edition (2006) contains over 11,000 entries, covering key areas including cognition, sensation and perception, emotion and motivation, learning and skills, language, mental disorder, and research methods, and such related disciplines as psychoanalysis, psychiatry, the neurosciences, and statistics.
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Dictionary Of Sociology

The 3rd revised edition (2009) "spans an international range of terms, methods, and concepts," including biographies, entries on topics ranging from environmental determinism to orientalism, and entries on related terms from psychology, economics, anthropology, philosophy, and political science.
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Dictionary Of World History

Second edition (2006) contains over 4,000 entries, covering pre-history to modern times, including biographies of key figures, historical summaries for each country, and entries on religious and political movements, international organizations, and key battles and places.
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Dictionary Of The English Language

This is the eighth edition (1799) of Samuel Johnson's landmark dictionary.
Please note: The link above takes you only to Volume 1, with alphabetically-arranged entries through the letter K. Volume 2 picks up with the letter L.
Other editions are available online in the ECCO database and the library has some printed volumes.
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Dinerís Dictionary

Second edition (2012) provides entries on the "origins and history of over 2,300 gastronomical words and phrases." We also have the printed volume.
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English Dictionaries And Thesauruses

This is a collection of English-language dictionaries published by Oxford University Press, searchable as a group or individually.
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GIS Dictionary

Search or browse for terms collected from ESRI software documentation, course materials, and other ESRI documents. Many terms address GIS operations, uses, and contexts. Other terms stem from closely allied fields, or from major application areas of GIS.
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Historical Thesaurus (Oxford English Dictionary)

A forty-year project, this database offers new access to the unique content of the Oxford English Dictionary, the premier etymological dictionary of the English language. In the words of one reviewer, "whereas a historical dictionary shows the ideas associated with a given word over the centuries, the Historical Thesaurus shows the words associated with a given idea."
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Lexicool

Links to over 3000 translation dictionaries and glossaries freely available on the Internet.
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MedTerms Medical Dictionary

The medical reference for MedicineNet.com, containing easy-to-understand explanations of over 16,000 medical terms. This online medical dictionary provides quick access to hard-to-spell and often misspelled medical definitions through an extensive alphabetical listing.
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Merriam-Webster Online

Dictionary and thesaurus.
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Merriam-Webster Unabridged

This is likely the preeminent source for definitions of words in the contemporary American English language. Orginally based on the landmark Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, but in a constant state of revision and updating, with fascinating features on new meanings and popular searches.
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Middle English Compendium

The Compendium weaves together three separate resources: the Middle English Dictionary; the HyperBibliography; and the Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse. The MEC was develped at the University of Michigan's Digital Library Production Service. It represents decades of effort, with almost 55,000 entries taken from nearly 900,000 quotations.
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Middle English Dictionary

"A comprehensive analysis of lexicon and usage for the period 1100-1500, based on the analysis of a collection of over three million citation slips."
The printed set is available in the library collection.
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New Dictionary Of Cultural Literacy

Compiled by E.D. Hirsch, this 3rd edition (2002) provides explanations of nearly 7,000 terms considered necessary for cultural literacy, including such subject areas as the Bible, geography, the English language, history, and more. Printed copy is available in our reference collection: REF E 169.1.H614 2002.
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New Oxford American Dictionary

Third edition (2010) contains more than 350,000 words and phrases in "American Ennglish," with an emphasis on contemporary use.
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OneLook Dictionaries

Search simultaneously for definitions of words and phrases in 700+ online dictionaries. Any of the individual dictionaries can also be searched separately.
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Oxford Dictionary Of Byzantium

This three-volume set (published in 1991) is a comprehensive dictionary of Byzantine civilization, including over 5,000 entries written by an international group of eminent scholars, covering all aspects of life in the Byzantine world. Major entries treat such topics as agriculture, art, literature, and politics, while shorter entries examine topics that relate to Byzantium such as the history of Kiev and personalities of ancient and biblical history.
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Oxford Dictionary Of English

Third edition (2010) is an authoritative guide to over 350,000 words, phrases, and meanings, focusing on English as it is used today.
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Oxford Dictionary Of English Idioms

Third edition (2009) explains over 6,000 English-language idiomatic phrases and expressions, based in part on the ongoing updates to the Oxford English Dictionary.
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Oxford Dictionary Of Law

Sixth edition (2006) contains over 4,000 entries which define and explain major terms, concepts, processes, and organization of legal systems founded on English law (with some coverage of European law).
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Oxford Dictionary Of Modern Slang

Second edition (revised 2010) provides explanations of 20th- and 21st-century slang from around the English-speaking world, covering about 6,000 words and expressions.
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Oxford Dictionary Of Philosophy

Written by Simon Blackburn, this 2008 edition contains over 500 biographies of famous and influential philosophers, in-depth analysis of philosophical terms and concepts, and coverage of themes from Chinese, Indian, Islamic, and Jewish philosophy.
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Oxford Dictionary Of Phrase And Fable

Wide-ranging dictionary which explores nearly 8,000 names and sayings found in classic and contemporary literature and other writings.
Also available in our printed collection.
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Oxford Dictionary Of Rhymes

First edition (2006) "contains rhymes for 45,000 words, including proper names, place names, and foreign terms used in English."
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Oxford Dictionary Of Word Origins

Second edition (2009) succinctly "describes the origins and development of over 3,000 words and phrases in the English language." Much more detailed etymological information can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary.
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Oxford Dictionary Of The Renaissance

This 2003 publication contains over 3,000 entries on the thought, culture, philosophy, painting and sculpture, and writing of Europe and the wider world from the early 14th century and continuing into the 15th and 16th centuries.
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Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

The OED is the accepted authority on the history of words in the English language. It is the most important guide to the meaning and history of over a half-million words, both past and present, tracing the meanings of these words through the use of over 2.5 million quotations, drawn from a wide range of sources. The database contains the Second Edition and additions, including quarterly updates of at least 1,000 new and revised entries.
The library also has the first and second editions in printed form.
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Oxford Reference Online

Compilation of over 200 reference books (encyclopedias, dictionaries, more),containing millions of entries, published by Oxford University Press. You can search an entire category ("History") or one book at a time.
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Oxford Reference Online -- Economics And Business Dictionaries

Searchable collection of a half-dozen dictionaries.
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Real Life Dictionary Of The Law

Complete text of the 1995 edition of this work.
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Roget's II: The New Thesaurus

3rd edition. Over 35,000 synonyms.
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Routledge Dictionary Of Literary Terms

This 2005 volume, containing over 200 entries, is a revision and expansion of Roger Flowler's Dictionary of Modern Critical Terms, first published in 1973.
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Science Reference Sources

A list of science specific dictionaries and encyclopedias. Updated as new resources are acquired.
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Webster's New World Law Dictionary

Definitions of over 4,000 legal terms. (Published 2006.)
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