Dictionary: Definition, Meaning, and Examples

Last Updated on
October 1, 2023

1. Dictionary (noun): A book or electronic resource that lists the words of a language and gives their meaning, or gives the equivalent words in a different language, often also providing information about pronunciation, origin, and usage.
2. Dictionary (noun): A set of words or other text strings made for use in applications such as spelling checkers.
3. Dictionary (noun): A reference work on a particular subject, the items of which are typically arranged in alphabetical order.

The "dictionary" is essential for anyone looking to expand their vocabulary and understand words' meaning, usage, and origins. It's a comprehensive guide to language, serving as a go-to reference for students, writers, and those learning a new language. Stick around to learn more about this invaluable resource.

"Dictionary" Definition: What Does "Dictionary" Mean?

The word "dictionary" pertains to a book or digital resource that catalogs a collection of words and provides details such as their meanings, pronunciations, etymologies, and other related information. A dictionary may also provide translations, synonyms, antonyms, and usage examples depending on its type.

  • General Dictionary: Provides meanings, pronunciations, and other details for a wide range of words.
  • Specialized Dictionary: Focuses on specific subjects, such as law, medicine, or science, and lists relevant terminologies.
  • Bilingual Dictionary: Lists words in one language and provides translations in another.
  • Reference Dictionary: A list of words used by a word-processing program to check spellings in text.

Parts of Speech

The term "dictionary" is primarily a noun, denoting a reference book or electronic resource that provides word-related information.

How to Pronounce "Dictionary"?

The word "dictionary" is commonly used and is familiar to most English speakers.

Phonetic Pronunciation: dɪkʃəˌnɛri (Stress on 'dɪk')

Synonyms of "Dictionary": Other Ways to Say "Dictionary"

The word "dictionary" has some synonyms that revolve around its function as a lexical reference tool.

  • Lexicon
  • Glossary
  • Thesaurus
  • Wordbook

Antonyms of "Dictionary": Other Ways to Say "Dictionary"

There aren't many direct antonyms for "dictionary" as it's a specific type of reference book. However, here are some terms that represent different types of reference materials.

  • Atlas
  • Almanac
  • Encyclopedia

Examples of "Dictionary" in a Sentence

Using "dictionary" in sentences often pertains to referencing, defining, or looking up words.

Here are ten sentences that demonstrate its various contexts:

1. Keeping a dictionary nearby helps you stay in the know about evolving language trends.
2. The bilingual dictionary was essential during my trip to Japan.
3. Reading a dictionary can significantly expand your vocabulary and understanding of language.
4. When writing, having a dictionary at hand is invaluable for checking spelling and meaning.
5. How do you spell that word? Let's look it up in the dictionary.
6. Her vocabulary is so vast; she's like a walking dictionary.
7. With the rise of online dictionaries, many have moved away from traditional paper versions.
8. The app integrates a dictionary feature, allowing users to define words instantly.
9. As per my last email, the updated dictionary edition contains new entries from recent years.
10. A good writer always cross-references multiple dictionaries to ensure accurate word usage.

Frequency of Use

The term "dictionary" is moderately frequent in English, especially in academic, literary, or linguistic contexts. Its importance in language and education ensures its continual use. While it might not rank among the most common words in daily conversations, it's still a widely recognized and utilized term.

Variants of "Dictionary"

The term "dictionary" primarily denotes a reference tool for words. However, various related terms and kinds of dictionaries exist based on its type and purpose.

1. Monolingual Dictionary: Provides definitions in the same language as the listed words.
2. Encyclopedic Dictionary: Blends elements of dictionaries and encyclopedias, offering comprehensive information on subjects rather than just word definitions.

Related Terms to "Dictionary"

Several terms are related to "dictionary," each representing a specific form or function of linguistic reference or compilation.

1. Thesaurus
2. Lexicon
3. Glossary
4. Encyclopedia
5. Almanac
6. Wordbook
7. Compendium
8. Phrasebook

Etymology: History and Origins of "Dictionary"

The term "dictionary" is derived from the Medieval Latin word "dictionarium," which means "collection of words and phrases." This word has its roots in the Latin word "dictio," which means "saying" or "word." The transition to the modern sense of the word, referring to a reference book containing an alphabetical list of words along with information such as meaning, pronunciation, and etymology, reflects this historical linguistic lineage.

Derivatives and Compounds of "Dictionary"

The term "dictionary" has birthed several derivatives and compounds related to the concept of word collections or reference materials.

1. Dictionary-like: Resembling or characteristic of a dictionary.
2. Dictionary-maker: A person who compiles dictionaries.

Common Misspellings of "Dictionary"

The correct spelling of "dictionary" is fundamental for accurate reference. Yet, misspellings frequently occur.

Here are some common misspellings and incorrect forms of "dictionary":

1. Dictionery
2. Dictionarry
3. Dictionnary

10 Idioms Similar to "Dictionary"

While "dictionary" isn't frequently found in idioms, several idioms pertain to knowledge, learning, or words, mirroring the dictionary's essence.

1. Bookworm
2. Read between the lines
3. Word of mouth
4. Have a way with words
5. In a nutshell
6. Give someone a chapter and verse
7. On the same page
8. Don't judge a book by its cover
9. Speak volumes
10. The last word

10 Common Questions About "Dictionary"

The concept of "dictionary" sparks various inquiries, from its history to its modern-day applications. Delving into these questions enriches our understanding.

1. What is the primary purpose of a "dictionary"?

A "dictionary" is designed to provide definitions, pronunciations, and often the etymology of words.

2. How do dictionaries differ from thesauri?

While a "dictionary" provides definitions, a thesaurus offers synonyms and antonyms without detailed explanations.

3. Are "dictionaries" still relevant in the digital age?

Yes, "dictionaries" remain relevant, with many now available online or as apps, offering quick word references and enriched features.

4. How often are "dictionaries" updated?

Major dictionaries often get updated annually, with new words and phrases reflecting linguistic and cultural shifts.

5. Who decides what words get included in a "dictionary"?

Linguists, lexicographers, and editorial teams typically decide on inclusions based on word usage frequency and cultural significance.

6. Can "dictionary" refer to topics other than languages?

Yes, there are specialized dictionaries for various fields, such as medical, legal, and scientific dictionaries.

7. How are new words added to a "dictionary"?

New words are added based on their prevalence in literature, media, everyday language, and cultural or societal importance.

8. Are slang words included in a "dictionary"?

Many contemporary dictionaries incorporate slang if it's widely used and has a sustained presence in the language.

9. How do dictionaries differ across languages?

Each language's dictionary will cater to its linguistic rules, cultural nuances, and regional variations. Content and structure may vary based on language complexity and history.

10. Why should someone own a physical "dictionary" in the age of the internet?

While digital versions are handy, physical dictionaries are reliable without requiring power or the internet, help reduce screen time, and often have a tactile appeal and aesthetic value.


"Dictionary" represents a valuable tool for knowledge seekers, providing information about language and its intricacies. Whether you're a student, writer, or just curious, a dictionary remains a treasured companion in the journey of learning. Regardless of format, its enduring relevance testifies to its importance in preserving and conveying language. Examine our entire definitions section to build a stronger vocabulary.

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