1. Writing in the Mist
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    Writing in the Mist Member

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    Dictionary Suggestions

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Writing in the Mist, Mar 9, 2011.

    Does anyone have comments or recommendations on particular dictionaries they've used? I'm looking for a very solid reference for my writing. I've got a half a dozen Webster's, but I'm looking for something highly exhaustive. I don't want to have to look the same word up in three books just to make sure I'm getting the whole definition and history. It must cover Old and Middle English to some extent. I DO NOT want something that just rolls with modern fads, slang, or inferences. I don't need to reference casual/"modern" English or slang. I'm looking for something like a particular edition of the OED, Webster's (Ex), or comparable work. Also, educated online suggestions are acceptable, as they can be used for casual reference.

    ~ Mist
     
  2. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    The OED seems to me your best bet.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The OED. It is the greatest English-language dictionary in the world. I have the one-volume version of the thirteen-volume complete set, and I value it highly even if I need a magnifying glass to read it.

    I also use the Concise OED. I bought a new edition of that recently and it came with a CD-ROM containing the dictionary and a cool app that lets you just click on a word in any document, and the app looks it up for you instantly. And it even has audio pronunciation! Very cool, and I use it every day.
     
  4. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Dang, that does sound cool...
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I use a mix of the OED, Penguin and my grandad's printed in 1949.

    I find OED one volume and Penguin together provide a good mix.
     
  6. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I just have an old copy of Collins English Dictionary that's followed me around my whole life. No idea how exhaustive it is - I use it a fair bit but not for much depth - mostly to check spelling I don't trust the internet to give me (ie: when I know there's a variant American spelling), or to double check a meaning before use. If I'm really interested in the history of a word I'll search it on the internet in other contexts than dictionaries, or just use them as a starting point.
     
  7. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I use OED online. I really want a printed dictionary, like a proper big old thick one from years ago. It would be so cool. Alas, I think they are expensive(?) I'll probably just have to resort to the Concise Oxford Dictionary instead, I should really get around to buying it...
     
  8. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think there are a lot of offers for cheaper dictionaries if you know where to look. I think my dad got my one from the newspaper but it may or may not have been for completing the crossword or something. In any case, small effort for a dictionary. :p
     
  9. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    Haha, I know. I can get a dictionary and a thesaurus for £1.99 I think, may even be less as the place has a sale. I just feel that if I'm going to get a dictionary it should be a proper big one with a material cover, and old and stuff, crammed with so many words that I have to use a magnifying glass. And now I want to buy a quill with ink too... *sigh*
     
  10. Dandroid
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    Dandroid Senior Member

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    OED...webster's college...do a google search, and i am sure you can find ratings...
     
  11. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    LOL it's funny how perspective changes we always growing up had my Grandad's printed in 1949 - I used to hate it as a child, I'd ask what a word ment and she would send me to look it up in Grandad's dictionary. The blasted thing is huge and so heavy to carry. However I think now it was where my research skills and vocabulary came from. I used to ask why we couldn't have a small paperback like everyone else. This one has a hardback designed to look like leather but it goes into every last little meaning the word has ever had.

    It is now my favourite. I actually still have his bureau, ink bottles and lens (maginfier) that he used.
     
  12. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm starting to feel guilty about leaving my dear old dictionary on a pile of coats underneath my drum set. :p *goes to rescue it* There is so little space in my room I'm gonna have to just leave it on my pillow in the day. :p
     
  13. Writing in the Mist
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    Writing in the Mist Member

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    Thanks guys. I thought the OED was my best bet, but just wanted to see if the internet (and other writers) had other ideas.

    I've seen the mini-version: got it for a friend. Absolutely tiny text! Great sounding app. I'll have to look into that! :D

    I guess so. That's what I kind of thought, but [see below.]

    Yep, thought I'd check here for ratings/commendations too.

    ~ Mist
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the best i've found and always keep on hand, is the 'new college edition' of 'the american heritage dictionary of the english language'... good condition used ones can be found for an affordable price at amazon's used books...

    mine is an old one from 1975, but it has a very fine etymology section in the back, as well as many other quite useful reference sections and appendices, which make it timeless...
     
  15. nhope
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    nhope Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I have a 1983 copy of the Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary. It's 4.25" thick and I bought it for $20 about 25 years ago. I love it.

    If I were to purchase another I would stick with the unabridged version.

    I recommend looking at them in bookstores before buying online. Sometimes the paperweight or font is enough to turn you off.
     
  16. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    I use Chambers. Nice red covers. Not particular about these sort of things, though I recall Chambers used to be the officialish dictionary of Scrabble and (perhaps, IIRC) Countdown..is there a more telling recommendation?!:)

    In truth, dictionaries don't really get my juices flowing, yet Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary does. Opened at a random page:

     

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