Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary is a large American dictionary, first published in 1966 as The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged.
The Random House publishing company entered the reference book market after World War II. They acquired rights to the Century Dictionary and the Dictionary of American English, both out of print. Their first dictionary was Clarence Barnhart's American College Dictionary, published in 1947, and based primarily on The New Century Dictionary, an abridgement of the Century.
In the late 1950s, it was decided to publish an expansion of the American College Dictionary, which had been modestly updated with each reprinting since its publication. Under editors Jess Stein and Laurence Urdang, they augmented the American College Dictionary with large numbers of entries in all fields, primarily proper names, and published it in 1966 as the first edition of the Random House Dictionary of the English Language. Unabridged Edition. It was the first dictionary to use computers in its compilation and typesetting.
An expanded second edition, edited by Stuart Berg Flexner, appeared in 1987, revised in 1993. This edition adopted the Merriam-Webster Collegiate innovation of adding dates for the entry of words into the language. Unlike the Collegiate, which cited the date of the first known citation, Random House indicated a range of dates. For example, where the Collegiate gave 1676, Random House might offer 1670-80.
Random House incorporated the name Webster's into the dictionary's title after an injunction won by Merriam Webster preventing its use on Random House's college edition was overturned on appeal. The name Random House Webster's is now used on many Random House publications.
Versions of the dictionary have been published under other names, including Webster's New Universal Dictionary (which was previously the name of an entirely different dictionary) and Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary.
- Barbara Ripp Safford and Margaret Irby Nichols, erds. 1998 Guide to reference materials for school library media centers (1998) p. 217
- Kurt Vonnegut. Welcome to the monkey house: a collection of short works (1998) pp 118-23 is a review
See also