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Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition 11th Edition

916 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0877798095
ISBN-10: 0877798095
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Editorial Reviews


Sets a high standard for future desk reference. --Library Journal

A road map to where English is headed -- The Village Voice

At last the ease of the Internet combined with the authority of a trusted name in reference. --BookPage

About the Author

The Merriam brothers desired a continuity of editorship that would link Noah Webster's efforts with their own editions, so they selected Chauncey A. Goodrich, Webster's son-in-law and literary heir, who had been trained in lexicography by Webster himself, to be their editor in chief. Webster's son William also served as an editor of that first Merriam-Webster dictionary, which was published on September 24, 1847.

Although Webster's work was honored, his big dictionaries had never sold well. The 1828 edition was priced at a whopping $20; in 13 years its 2,500 copies had not sold out. Similarly, the 1841 edition, only slightly more affordable at $15, moved slowly. Assuming that a lower price would increase sales, the Merriams introduced the 1847 edition at $6, and although Webster's heirs initially questioned this move, extraordinary sales that brought them $250,000 in royalties over the ensuing 25 years convinced them that the Merriams' decision had been abundantly sound.

The first Merriam-Webster dictionary was greeted with wide acclaim. President James K. Polk, General Zachary Taylor (hero of the Mexican War and later president himself), 31 U.S. senators, and other prominent people hailed it unreservedly. In 1850 its acceptance as a resource for students began when Massachusetts ordered a copy for every school and New York placed a similar order for 10,000 copies to be used in schools throughout the state. Eventually school use would spread throughout the country. In becoming America's most trusted authority on the English language, Merriam-Webster dictionaries had taken on a role of public responsibility demanded of few other publishing companies. 


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1664 pages
  • Publisher: Merriam-Webster, Inc.; 11th edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877798095
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877798095
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 7.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (916 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

453 of 474 people found the following review helpful By Just a Customer on January 30, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I recently purchased an I-pad hoping that it would save me some money on college textbooks. It was with great excitement that I downloaded the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary (Kindle Edition). Not only was it less expensive, it seemed ideal in the sense that I could search it using keywords and not by flipping pages. I am taking an editing course and my very first assignment proved to me that I should have purchased the actual text version, as the vast majority of the words I looked up, were nowhere to be found on this version. My instructor's print version contained acronyms and a variety of other words that I simply could not find anywhere on the Kindle version. I felt like an idiot. And these were just the first few words I was required to look up in the very first paragraph. A quick online search brought these words up immediately in the online MW free dictionary. But, I paid for this dictionary and it's supposedly the same version as the print, yet it's incomplete. Save your money and the hassle of having to buy both versions (what I ended up doing after the Kindle version failed to bring any words that I needed to look-up up) and just get it in print. The Kindle version will NOT have the same entries, nor even the entire dictionary including appendixes, keys, legends and reference material.
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316 of 331 people found the following review helpful By audrey pierce TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a fine dictionary. It even smells good. Too hefty to be portable, it is nevertheless a perfect desk dictionary, starting with a seventeen-page explanatory chart and notes, an essay on the English language, and a guide to pronunciation. The volume continues with excellent definitions that are sometimes accompanied by b&w line drawings, and finishes with sections on foreign words & phrases, biographical names, geographical names, signs & symbols in various fields of endeavor, punctuation, capitals & italics, documenting sources, forms of address and an index. [..]

This is the most comprehensive collegiate dictionary to date, with many new entries since 1996's tenth edition, and it is well organized wih a nice clean font (though it may be a bit troublesome for those who are far-sighted). It always amazes me that we can purchase so much information so inexpensively. This is a terrific resource -- it's time to update your dictionary!!
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307 of 329 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For several decades now, THE MERRIAM-WEBSTER'S COLLEGIATE DICTIONARY has served as the standard American English dictionary. I have done a good deal of copyediting over the years, and every publisher I have worked with has specified this dictionary (along with the Webster's Unabridged) as the standard governoring the way that American English words are spells and defined. Although one can feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of dictionaries in the reference section of any good bookstore, this volume is as close to authoritative as we have in the United States. One might have a preference for another, but this is the only one that enjoys widespread authoritative acceptance.
The dust jacket explains the ways that the new 11th edition has been expanded, but personally, while I am quite certain that it has been expanded, I have not noticed a great deal of difference from the 10th edition. It may be definitive and improved, but most of the improvements will be difficult for anyone to detect. The new CD-ROM included with it, however, is a vast improvement on the previous software that was developed based on the 10th edition. When the 10th edition first came out, CD software was not widely available. A CD version of the dictionary did eventually come out, but it was somewhat rudimentary. The new CD-ROM, however, is a huge improvement. For instance, when looking up any word, a column will display a number of words that approximate the word that your are attempting to look up. If you can merely approximate the spelling, you can frequently find the correct word. Furthermore, by double clicking on any word in the online dictionary, you will pull up the listing for that word. The CD-ROM also has a link to the Internet.
Let's face it. Buying dictionaries for most people is about as exciting as having one's oil changed. But like oil changes, dictionaries are essential. For the foreseeable future, this one is going to remain the definitive American English dictionary.
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129 of 140 people found the following review helpful By spheremusic on July 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Unlike prescriptive dictionaries such as the American Heritage Dictionary, which rely on self-appointed panels of "experts" to decide what correct usage should be, descriptive dictionaries such as this and Merriam-Webster's Third International try to keep pace with how the language is actually used by speakers. This may explain why the Webster's Collegiate dictionaries have been the standard reference in the American publishing industry for a long time.
This is easily the best dictionary of its class, period. It has an extraordinarily large number of entries and its definitions are concise and easy to understand. The only shortcoming is that there are few example sentences, but this is a necessary tradeoff to keep the size under control. For sheer richness of information it doesn't compare to the New Shorter OED, for example, but then again you can't toss the NSOED into your backpack and take it to school with you. This book is light and compact.
But the thing that really sets this dictionary apart is the CD-ROM. You can search for words using up to 15 different operations, including "rhymes with," "is a cryptogram of," "homophones are," "etymology includes," etc. You can use AND and OR operators to combine the various operations. These search functions are a tremendous asset to anybody who works with words, particularly writers, poets, and songwriters.
And did I mention that you get a free one-year subscription to their online dictionary with your purchase?
This package is a tremendous value for the money and really belongs in every home and office. And I have no doubt that Webster's 11 will continue to be the gold standard in the publishing industry for the foreseeable future.<I> --This text refers to an edition which conatins a CD-ROM. Not all editions of this item contain a CD. Please check the item desription for further information.--</I>
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