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Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary Hardcover – January 1, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0877797098 ISBN-10: 0877797099 Edition: 10th

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Product Details

  • Series: Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary
  • Hardcover: 1600 pages
  • Publisher: Merriam-Webster; 10th edition (1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877797099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877797098
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7.1 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The 1998 10th edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary marks the 100th anniversary of this distinguished and popular reference standard, and this is more than just an interesting statistic--it means that Merriam-Webster brings years of experience and reams of citation files to the creation of this latest edition. Improving on their last dictionary, they've added more than 100 pictorial illustrations and supplemented the synonym paragraphs with examples. Along with the English dictionary, which forms the heart of the reference, the editors at Merriam-Webster have included a brief introduction to the English language and a history of the English dictionary, a guide to pronunciation, and a series of appendices that include chemical element abbreviations and symbols, foreign words and phrases, extensive sections with biographical and geographical names, signs and symbols, and a handbook of style.

But getting back to the book itself--it's impressively comprehensive for a collegiate dictionary, with more than 215,000 definitions. Each item includes a pithy wealth of information, with first usage date, etymology, and pronunciation, and clear, precise definitions. In addition, there are often usage notes, synonym cross-references, illustrative quotations, variant spellings and pronunciations, regional labels, and information on capitalization, function, and inflections. Then there are the extra touches. Under bible, for example, there's a chart detailing books of the Old Testament, Jewish Scripture, Protestant apocrypha, and books of the New Testament. Under months is a table listing the months of the principal calendars--Gregorian, Jewish, and Islamic. And wonderful line drawings illustrate terms such as mackerel, lyrebird, hedgehog, and the ancient Celtic stringed instrument known as a crowd. All this makes it a valuable reference--detailed enough for editors and writers, accessible enough for students and casual definition seekers, updated with the new vocabulary of technology, and rigorous enough for the linguistic perfectionists. --Stephanie Gold

From Library Journal

Despite a change in title, this volume supersedes Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (1983) as the latest in a nearly 100-year-old line of college desk diction aries from Merriam-Webster. New editions in this series have appeared about every ten years since 1898. The tenth edition documents the changes in the language of the past decade with an additional 10,000 new meanings and words. It continues and expands the feature of "usage paragraphs" introduced in the ninth edition. These short essays explain how problem words are used in the language; thorny words and phrases such as irregardless , forte (one syllable or two?), hone in on , alright vs. all right , and hundreds more are given special attention. There is no retreat here from the descriptive philosophy that made Webster's Third New International Dictionary so controversial. This edition describes and illuminates use without labeling right and wrong. The comprehensive vocabulary presents a thoughtful mix of the new and the old. As in the previous edition, there are separate appendixes of abbreviations, foreign words and phrases, biographical names, geographical names, signs and symbols, and a handbook of style. To make room for new words, the appendix list of colleges and universities present in the ninth edition has been deleted. The inclusion of a first date of use for almost every entry is another welcome innovation. The dictionary is printed on good, heavy paper; the type is sharp although the pages are tightly packed to the point of being cramped. The binding of the deluxe edition is durable and sturdy. This is one of the (if not the ) best among the college dictionaries; recommended for all libraries large and small. Other good choices are Random House Webster's College Dictionary (1991) and Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (1988). For those wanting a more prescriptive college dictionary, a new arrival, the American Heritage College Dictionary Third Edition (1993), derived from the unabridged dictionary of the same name, is the right choice.
- Paul D'Alessandro, Portland P. L. , Me.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

One type compares the usage of different words with very similar meanings.
Mike Christie
As a result, every dictionary in the US that wants to make any sales calls itself a "Webster's." The M-W, however, is the original and still the best.
TestMagic Inc.
It uses font sizes and page space judiciously and therefore offers more of the information one is likely to want.
"ram_crammer"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 96 people found the following review helpful By TestMagic Inc. on July 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Noah Webster wrote the first American English dictionary in the 1806 and his name has come to be synonymous with the word "dictionary" in the US. As a result, every dictionary in the US that wants to make any sales calls itself a "Webster's."
The M-W, however, is the original and still the best. I have every major American English dictionary in publication, and several British dictionaries, including the Random House, the Webster's 3rd (the unabridged dictionary), Microsoft's dictionary, the Oxford Dictionary, and several learner's dictionaries.
Frankly, the differences among the top three,i.e., the M-W, the Random House, and the Microsoft (on CD), are not that great--choose a word like "efficiency" and see how each is defined. You might think they were all working together. That said, I have so say the M-W is still my favorite. Further, the M-W dictionary is consistently rated #1 in surveys of academics and language scholar.
I am a professional language and test preparation instructor and rely on good dictionaries for precise definitions of words. The M-W consistently gives clear, accurate dictionaries and apposite examples. One extra feature that helps word lovers like me understand the words better is that M-W lists definitions in the order that they came into use, with the most recent usage last. This type of listing is extremely helpful for understanding how a word has evolved and what it is about that word that remains and what is not essential to the meaning. Such an understanding of words is essential for GRE and SAT preparation and is one of the main reasons I regularly turn to the M-W.
In short, it's your best option for an American English dictionary.
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88 of 90 people found the following review helpful By "ram_crammer" on November 12, 1998
Format: Hardcover
In it's promotional materials, Merriam-Webster takes pride in its large scholarly editorial staff, and huge citation files. In fact, it is a company devoted to producing high quality scholarly references, and its pride is justified.
Because no dictionary can include everything, the art of producing a fine dictionary is the art of choosing wisely, what to include and what not to incorporate. Some desk dictionaries are too concerned with inflating their word stock with esoteric chemical names and proper nouns, leaving little room for the true lexical entries you are more likely to investigate. Some of these books only give a few near-synonyms to define a word. Others fill valuable space with thumb nail photos, which are fine if you want a picture book.
Merriam-Webster's 10th Collegiate chooses its word stock with care. It uses font sizes and page space judiciously and therefore offers more of the information one is likely to want. It provides carefully crafted definitions, based on citational research that reveals the subtlety of connotation as well as the more obvious denoted sense.
M-W's illustrative phrases are excellent, with many cited from literature. The word stock is extensive as well as current. The synonym studies are truly useful, revealing the fine shades of difference between the synonyms listed. The usage notes are based on citational evidence, not on the opinion of elitist "usage panels". When a word's usage is at issue, this dictionary gives you the facts, not opinion. It's dating of the first known appearance of words is perhaps not essential, but it is a welcome feature lending historical interest to the entries.
I have only one complaint about this otherwise exemplary dictionary.
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170 of 181 people found the following review helpful By Mike Christie on February 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a very high quality collegiate dictionary. I am a member of a word puzzle organization (puzzlers.org) and this is our standard reference, along with the unabridged version, "Webster's Third New International Dictionary". Many very obscure words show up in puzzles, but it is relatively rare I find I have to go to the unabridged dictionary to look them up.
In addition to being thorough (with excellent sections on abbreviations, foreign words and phrases (such as "en plein jour" or "inshallah") it includes compressed but informative etymological data. For example, the entry on "spacious" has this - ME, fr. MF spacieux, fr. L spatiosus, space, room -- more at SPEED (14c)"; in a little over a single line you get the lineage, with a reference to yet more information. You may have to learn some of the abbreviations (Middle English, Middle French, 14th century) but I found them generally intuitive and didn't need to look them up much at all.
In addition, there are excellent usage paragraphs scattered throughout. These are of two types. One type compares the usage of different words with very similar meanings. For example, the entry on "satiate" provides a usage paragraph that compares "satiate", "sate", "surfeit", "cloy", "pall", "glut" and "gorge", identifying the precise differences of usage between them. The paragraph is cross-referenced at each of the other six words, so you don't have to just stumble across satiate to find it.
The other kind of usage paragraph discusses correctness. A good example is "hopefully", which in its sense "I hope that" is controversial.
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