Dictionaries remain an important and useful aspect to our life. For decades people have used dictionaries to correct their spelling and to allow them to understand what new words mean. Dictionaries do more than just that though. Dictionaries help us define language. Dictionaries are always evolving and introducing new words as they become part of our language.
Oxford has been in the dictionary business for a long time. They offer a lot more dictionaries than than just their standard “New Oxford Dictionary of English”. The standard Oxford Dictionary of English is actually a huge volume of books that doesn’t just define every word, but also traces the lineage of every word back to its original source. As of 1989, it consisted of 21,728 pages and took 20 volumes to publish the entire behemoth. Oxford also publishes smaller versions that merely define a word and its meaning. Oxford’s dictionary thesaurus also allows you to see matching words.
Webster’s dictionary defines bad wedding speech as “a speech that uses a Webster’s dictionary definition”. Webster dictionary is one of the leading dictionary companies in the world. For whatever reason, a Webster’s dictionary became the go to source to people who are atrocious at public speaking. There are a lot of dictionaries that call themselves Webster’s dictionaries. It’s become a part of the common parlance, while the originals were dictionaries that were edited by Noah Webster.
The Merriam dictionary is ironically the only true “Webster” dictionary left in publication. The Merriam company took over the Webster dictionary upon the death of Noah Webster. The Merriam dictionary is actually now owned by the encyclopedia britannica. This has helped create the largest most powerful collection of desktop reference books ever to be seen in nature! Merriam was one of the first to publish their dictionary online to give people on the internet access to their works. They’ve also published a lot of other dictionaries for specific industries and subjects like medicine, sports and geography.
Translation dictionaries have been always been of great use. The most common is a french-english dictionary. In these dictionaries you can learn the corresponding words in the French language. In addition to that, you can learn the reverse. If you are in France and need to understand what was said to you, the dictionary can teach you the reverse. Each French word is in there with the corresponding English word. A French dictionary is the perfect travelling companion for an incredibly journey through the vineyards of France. It’s also useful for a sub-average vacation to northern Quebec.
Spanish dictionaries allow you to understand some of the glorious romantic language that is Spanish. Just like a french dictionary, it allows you to take an English word and figure out the Spanish version. It also lets you take Spanish words that you don’t understand and let you understand what they mean in English. These translation dictionaries may not have quite the detail of others, or let you translate very quickly when you have to go word by word, but they are invaluable resources to travellers or people looking to translate some basic text.