Comparison of English dictionaries

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

These tables compare modern and notable English dictionaries, split by market segment. Unless noted after the edition number, all are single-volume works.

Number of entries[edit]

Note that the publisher's definition of an entry differs. Some publishers count derivatives as separate entries while others count expressions consisting of more than one word as separate entries. The number of entries is a marketing term that should never be used to compare dictionaries.

As an example, the 6th Edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (SOED6, 2007) contains approximately:[citation needed]

  • 104,000 entries (where only the word "back" is listed.)
  • 125,000 entries when parts of speech are separately listed ("back" is listed 5 times, 2 times as a noun, as an adjective, as a verb, and also as an adverb.)
  • 172,000 entries when derivatives are also counted.
  • 600,000 entries when different meanings (12 meanings for the first "back" noun listing alone) and phrases (at the back of, back and edge, behind one's back etc) are also counted.

The 2nd Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) includes more historical entries because it also lists words that have been obsolete for centuries (back to the 7th century) due to changes in meaning and orthography. The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary only covers usage back to the 18th century.

Learner's dictionaries typically contain 40,000 to 50,000 words, which is half to one third of the current usage, but still claim hundreds of thousands of "entries".

Full-size[edit]

These dictionaries generally aim for extensive coverage of the language for native speakers. They typically only cover one variety of English, either British or American.

Title Publisher First

published

Latest edition Year Pages Entries

(approx.)

Main accent Pronunciation

guide

American Heritage Dictionary (AHD) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 1969 5th (ISBN 0-547-04101-2) 2011 2,074 70,000 American Diacritical
The Chambers Dictionary Chambers Harrap Publishers 1872 13th (ISBN 9781473602250) 2014 1,920 62,500[1] British Diacritical
Collins English Dictionary HarperCollins Publishers 1979 12th (ISBN 9780007522743) 2014 2,340 100,000 British IPA
Concise Oxford English Dictionary (COED) Oxford University Press 1911 12th (ISBN 9780199601080) 2011 1,728 240,000 British IPA
New Oxford American Dictionary (NOAD) Oxford University Press 2001 3rd (ISBN 0-19-539288-4) 2010 2,096 350,000 American Diacritical
Oxford Dictionary of English Oxford University Press 1998 3rd (ISBN 0-19-957112-0) 2010 2,112 355,000 British IPA
Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Oxford University Press 1895 2nd (20 vols., ISBN 0-19-861186-2) 1989 21,730 291,500 British IPA
Random House Webster's Random House 1966 2nd (rev., ISBN 978-0375425998) 2002 2,256 315,000 American Diacritical
Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (SOED) Oxford University Press 1933 6th (2 vol., ISBN 9780199206872) 2007 3,804 125,000 British IPA
Webster's Third New International Dictionary (W3) Merriam-Webster 1961 3rd (ISBN 0-87-779201-1) 2002 2,783 263,000 American Diacritical

Collegiate[edit]

These dictionaries generally contain fewer entries (and fewer definitions per entry) than their full-size counterparts, but may contain additional material, such as biographical or geopolitical information, that would be useful to a college student. They may be revised more often and thus contain more up to date usage. Sometimes the term collegiate or college is used merely to indicate a physically smaller, more economically printed dictionary.

Title Publisher First

published

Latest edition Year Pages Entries

(approx.)

Main accent Pronunciation

guide

American Heritage College Dictionary Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2002 4th[2] (ISBN 0-547-24766-4) 2010 1,664 American Diacritical
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary Merriam-Webster 1898 11th (ISBN 0-8777-9809-5) 2003 1,664 165,000 American Diacritical
Webster's New World College Dictionary Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 1953 5th 2004 1,736 163,000 American Diacritical

Learner's[edit]

These dictionaries generally contain fewer entries than full-size or collegiate dictionaries, but contain additional information that would be useful to a learner of English, such as more extensive usage notes, example sentences or phrases, collocations, and both British and American pronunciations (sometimes multiple variants of the latter). In addition, definitions are usually restricted to a simpler core vocabulary than that expected of a native speaker. All use the IPA to indicate pronunciation.

Title Publisher First

published

Latest edition Year Pages Usage examples

(approx.)

Main dialect
Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary Cambridge University Press 2003[3] 4th (ISBN 9781107619500) 2013 1,810 British
Collins COBUILD Advanced Dictionary Collins Cobuild 1987 8th (ISBN: 9780007580583) 2014 1,968 British
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Pearson-Longman 1978 6th (ISBN 1-408-21533-0) 2015 2,082 165,000 British
Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners Macmillan Education 2002 2nd (ISBN 1-4050-2526-3) 2007 1,872 British
Merriam-Webster's Advanced Learner's English Dictionary Merriam-Webster 2008 1st (ISBN 0-87779-550-9) 2008 2,032 160,000 American
Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary Oxford University Press 1948 9th (ISBN 0-19-479900-X) 2015 1,796 185,000 British

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Kaminski, Mariusz (2013). A History of the Chambers Dictionary. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 95–96. 
  2. ^ The 2010 "4th edition" of The American Heritage College Dictionary (ISBN 0-547-24766-4) is the second revision of the original "4th edition" published in 2002; it was originally derived from the 4th edition of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, which was published in 2000.[1]
  3. ^ Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary was originally published as Cambridge International Dictionary of English in 1995.