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Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary [Hardcover]

by Merriam-Webster
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)

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Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition 4.1 out of 5 stars (574)
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Book Description

1998 0877797099 978-0877797098 10th
Take charge of today’s language! This all-new, authoritative edition boasts over 215,000 definitions including dozens of new words—"dot-com", "eye candy", "electronica", "24/7", and more. You’ll also discover:

- Countless illustrations and tables offering at-a-glance information

- Detailed symbols to show common pronunciation and acceptable variants

- Usage guides and synonym paragraphs to help you choose the right word

- Special sections on Abbreviations, Foreign Words and Phrases, and more

- And much more!

An essential addition to your library.

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Editorial Reviews 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.

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: 10 x 7.4 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
94 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original Webster's is still the best one! July 13, 2000
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
5.0 out of 5 stars An exemplary lexical reference -- for the most part. November 12, 1998
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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169 of 180 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and well-written, with useful features February 27, 2000
This is a very high quality collegiate dictionary. I am a member of a word puzzle organization ( 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what the Teacher ordered.
Another addition to one of our work stations. As I had anticipated, ity would be in better condition than stated and arrived in a very timely manner.
Published 8 days ago by Richard T. Hallstrom
4.0 out of 5 stars Too many marks in the book
I expected it to be a "clean" copy, but found the former owner had marked up the dictionary in lots of places.
Published 11 months ago by Joan M. Benham
5.0 out of 5 stars Here it is, the one that was always there...
The standard one of moderate heft that still serves America. Online dictionaries are fine, but for the peruser this is the one. Get lost looking up what you going after.
Published 16 months ago by Edward Clark, Jr.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Deal
I needed a dictionary of my own. This used dictionary is clean and nothing is wrong with buying a used dictionary.
Published on July 23, 2011 by B-B
5.0 out of 5 stars everything we were looking for!
I know there isn't much to say about a dictionary but, I will comment on this one. After buying my son a children's dictionary that was never completely helpful we added a... Read more
Published on September 15, 2009 by Isobel Spencer
5.0 out of 5 stars USED? College Dictionary
If this is a used book You sure could have fooled me. I am very pleased with it.
Published on April 28, 2009 by EL TEJANO
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Use of this Dictionary
This edition of the Webster's Dictionaray was recommended to me when I began writing historical fiction. Many of the entries have a note giving the year the word was first used. Read more
Published on February 23, 2007 by Linda
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK
This is a one stop dictionary. All you need under one cover. I purchase other dictionaries from Oxford, Collins and Cambridge to name a few and this one tops them all by a long... Read more
Published on December 23, 2004 by Sheldon Noray
5.0 out of 5 stars does this really need a review?
somethings are just great and need no reviews. This is one of them. If you read, you need this.
Published on September 2, 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Practical Dictionary
This Dictioanry is a real bargain for the price you pay. Pretty much all the words, esoteric or otherwise that you come across in the course of your reading is covered by this very... Read more
Published on June 26, 2003 by Amazon Customer
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