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For other uses, see Dictionary (disambiguation).
For Wikimedia's dictionary project visit Wiktionary, or see the Wiktionary article.
A dictionary, also referred to as a lexicon, wordbook, or vocabulary, is a
collection of words in one or more specific languages, often listed alphabetically,
with usage information, definitions, etymologies, phonetics, pronunciations, and
other information; or a book of words in one language with their equivalents in
another, also known as a lexicon. According to Nielsen 2008 a dictionary may be
regarded as a lexicographical product that is characterised by three significant
features: (1) it has been prepared for one or more functions; (2) it contains data
that have been selected for the purpose of fulfilling those functions; and (3) its
lexicographic structures link and establish relationships between the data so that
they can meet the needs of users and fulfil the functions of the dictionary.
Further, each word may have multiple meanings. Some dictionaries include each
separate meaning in the order of most common usage while others list definitions in
historical order, with the oldest usage first.
In many languages, words can appear in many different forms, but only the
undeclined or unconjugated form appears as the headword in most dictionaries.
Dictionaries are most commonly found in the form of a book, but some newer
dictionaries, like StarDict and the New Oxford American Dictionary are dictionary
software running on PDAs or computers. There are also many online dictionaries
accessible via the Internet.
A multi-volume Latin dictionary in the University Library of Graz.
* 1 History
o 1.1 Noah Webster
* 2 Specialized dictionaries
* 3 Glossaries
* 4 Pronunciation
* 5 Variations between dictionaries
o 5.1 Prescription and description
* 6 Major English dictionaries
o 6.1 Others
* 7 See also
* 8 References
* 9 Relevant literature
* 10 External links
The oldest known dictionaries were Akkadian empire cuneiform tablets with bilingual
Sumerianâ&±Akkadian wordlists, discovered in Ebla (modern Syria) and dated roughly
2300 BCE. The early 2nd millennium BCE Urra=hubullu glossary is the canonical
Babylonian version of such bilingual Sumerian wordlists. A Chinese dictionary, the
ca. 3rd century BCE Erya, was the earliest surviving monolingual dictionary,
although some sources cite the ca. 800 BCE Shizhoupian as a "dictionary", modern
scholarship considers it a calligraphic compendium of Chinese characters from Zhou
dynasty bronzes. Philitas of Cos (fl. 4th century BCE) wrote a pioneering
vocabulary Disorderly Words (á¼²Ï…Î³ÎºÏ²Î¿Î¹ Î´Î»á¿¶Ï²Ï²Î³Î¹, Ã²taktoi glÃµssai)
which explained the meanings of rare Homeric and other literary words, words from
local dialects, and technical terms. Apollonius the Sophist (fl. 1st century CE)