1. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Dictionaries?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by minstrel, Mar 3, 2013.

    I have a complete Oxford English Dictionary (compact edition - you need a magnifying glass). I love it. It's authoritative when it comes to British English.

    What is the comparable American English dictionary? I'm looking for the most complete and authoritative dictionary of American English there is. Is there anything in America that compares to the OED?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary is really good, though it is abridged. I know Webster has an unabridged version (I saw it just the other day at a bookstore), but I'm not sure the inclusion of infrequently used or obscure words justifies its high price.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I have a Webster's Unabridged, a Merriam-Webster Abridged, and an American Heritage Dictionary at home. I also use the Oxford Dictionary of English online when I wish to check on UK English differences, plus I have a few specialized dictionaries for cross-language and specialty vocabularies.

    Even for general use, one dictionary is not enough, particularly when you are looking at secondary or archaic definitions.
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I look at secondary and archaic definitions a fair bit. I also like to see lots of examples of usage. I won't be happy with some cut-down, these-are-the-only-words-we-think-you-need-to-know schoolboy's dictionaries. My partner has a couple of those, and they're almost useless. I'm looking for the all-time heavyweight champion of American English dictionaries.

    I guess I won't find it in one book. I'll have to accumulate several.
     
  5. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    I actually use a Flip Dictionary. I know what words mean and how to spell them, but I don't always know which word I want.
     
  6. GhostWolfe
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    GhostWolfe Member

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    dictionary.reference.com

    It uses multiple sources, includes etymologies, & you can easily switch between definitions & synonyms.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the best i've ever found and the one i've relied on for 30 years is 'the american heritage dictionary of the english language'... the big, hard cover version is equal to the oed, imo... and it has an excellent etymology section in the back, among many other useful appendices...

    even an older edition will be worth purchasing used...
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions. When I get home from my trip (I'm in Georgia now, until this coming weekend) I'll look into buying a really serious, scholarly American English dictionary.
     
  9. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I'd go dictionary.reference.com, personally. Free and easy to use, so long as you have internet. But it's not like you're going to haul your dictionary anywhere where you don't already have wifi, right?
     
  10. ChristianGrey
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    ChristianGrey New Member

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    ^ This, although I know it has just been said!
     
  11. GhostWolfe
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    GhostWolfe Member

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    Oh, and reference.com have an app that's pretty nifty >_>
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The Internet is not the only answer for everything. Get yourself some real, heavyweight dictionaries from respected sources.
     
  13. GhostWolfe
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    GhostWolfe Member

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    Why so dismissive? As I said, this website cites from multiple sources, and it's portable.

    Or is that not respectable enough for you?
     

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