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#155328 - 02/09/06 06:57 PM Good Dictionaries  
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mechanesthesia Offline
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Okay, I searched and this topic didn't come up in the results.
And I hope I don't inconvenience anyone who thinks it's a YART.

Well, someone who is interested in words and language should have a good dictionary, one that's really big and comprehensive. I have always had "The World Book Dictionary." I don't know if anyone has heard of it, but mine is kind of an old dictionary from about the '70's or something which was handed down from my parents. I really like it, but I don't know if it's good (i.e. if it fits some arbitrary opinion of what is "good"). I'm thinking of getting a different dictionary (which is at least up-to-date). What do you suggest? OED? Websters?

Dictionaries are pretty "analog" nowadays, any word that I need to know I just look it up on Answers.com or Onelook. But the Internet is not really good for browsing, just flipping through pages and reading words that catch your attention.

So what do you think?

Last edited by mechanesthesia; 02/09/06 07:00 PM.

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#155329 - 02/09/06 07:50 PM Re: Good Dictionaries  
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of troy Offline
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i think we did do a 'census' of what/how many dictionaries we owned.. (but not which was favorite, or most commonly used.)

OED is well the gold standard.. i wish i owned one.

(in my divorce, i got every dictionary EXCEPT the OED-He got that) that left me with over a dozen, plus other word books (like Peter Bowler's The Superior Person's Book of Words--(and his second book of words), and Bill Bryson's the Mother Tongueamd Made in America or Steven Pinker's The Language Instinctor Words and Rules--some of those i bought, some came to me. i think the most valuable dictionary i own is Partridge's dictionary of the vulgar and slang.(still packed away)i have a number of specialized dictionaries:
one for foriegen terms, one for problem words and expressions, one for sceintific terms, one for printing and graphic arts terms. (and others)

I love my Chambers, and generally use it, or Websters New World, and for back up i do have the Oxford Univeral Dictionary. (which is just too dam big to be everyday useful, and too small to be complete--really quite useless!)

before i moved, (some 3 years ago!) i used to have a small desk top spelling dictionary. one day i will find it. in the meanwhile.. i happily believe that is a dull mind that can only think of one way to spell any given word...

and yes, there are service's like onelook, but most of here still like a proper dictionary.
(in my previous residence, i had built in bookshelves in every room (all 7) plus more in the basement! i have slowely been building/buying bookshelves and unpacking. but i have a ways to go. (about 50% of my books now have a proper home on a shelf!)

#155330 - 02/10/06 12:40 AM Re: Good Dictionaries  
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maverick Offline
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Mecha, it is comparatively expensive compared to a hot dog but far more nutritious... I'd go for the OED on disc for the endless rewards of delving into (as Helen says) gold-standard research. It can be run in the background and called up as a context-sensitive link to any highlighted word in whatever other program you're running.

For a handy print version, any of the leading houses will give a good quick reminder; but nothing touches OED for sheer interest to the real language maven.

#155331 - 02/10/06 02:35 AM Re: Good Dictionaries  
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Elizabeth Creith Offline
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Quote:

nothing touches OED for sheer interest to the real language maven.




Wot he said. My favourite browsing dictionary, too.

#155332 - 02/10/06 04:18 AM Re: Good Dictionaries  
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The OED, for me, will always be, in its first edition, my preferred monolingual English dictionary. Though, the work of many people, it was more than half edited by James Murray. The Merriam-Webster's Collegiate still has a place in my heart since it was the first dictionary I owned; I got it on my 8th birthday. Lewis and Short for Latin, even though the Oxford is more up to date. Liddell-Scott for classical Greek, forever tied, as it were, with little Alice of Alice in Wonderland. For German, Grimm's Wörterbuch, and Dr Adam Wrede for his priceless Neuer kölnischer Sprachschatz. Monier-Williams' Sanskrit Dictionary, even if he did crib some from the St Petersburg dictionary. I have always coveted a Du Cange.


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#155333 - 02/10/06 02:03 PM Re: Good Dictionaries  
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dxb Offline
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OED for me too. I have an old Compact Edition (produced in 1979), which is a full 12 volumes shot down to fit into two heavy tomes. You need a magnifying glass to read a full entry, but even so...

#155334 - 02/10/06 04:22 PM Re: Good Dictionaries  
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Quote:

OED for me too. I have an old Compact Edition (produced in 1979), which is a full 12 volumes shot down to fit into two heavy tomes. You need a magnifying glass to read a full entry, but even so...




Yep, that's the one we have, too. It's the standard. But we also use all the American Heritage dictionaries; they are especially good for usage and etymology. Whatever you choose, you certainly need an upgrade from the World Book you have!! The Merriam-Webster Collegiate might be a good starter dictionary for you, as a college student.

#155335 - 02/10/06 05:02 PM Re: Good Dictionaries  
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mechanesthesia Offline
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mechanesthesia  Offline
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Nah, I don't want anything standard. I want something where I'll be able to find obscure words in.
Hmm, so far the OED is the consensus.


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#155336 - 02/10/06 07:58 PM Re: Good Dictionaries  
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AnnaStrophic Offline
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Quote:

Nah, I don't want anything standard. I want something where I'll be able to find obscure words in.
Hmm, so far the OED is the consensus.




By standard I meant the OED is the one against which others are measured. Perhaps I should have said "gold standard."

#155337 - 02/10/06 09:07 PM Re: Good Dictionaries  
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Myridon Offline
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Gold standard: Amazon.com has the special blue leather OED for only $6000! (There's also an extra $54.50 shipping charge over whatever it costs to ship 152 pounds of books.)

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