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Microsoft Encarta College Dictionary: The First Dictionary For The Internet Age Hardcover – July 13, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0312280871 ISBN-10: 0312280874 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1728 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (July 13, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312280874
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312280871
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 2.6 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Aimed primarily at students and redacted from Microsoft's Encarta World English Dictionary (2001) this new volume promises two things competitors such as American Heritage lack. The first, predictably, concerns technology: Encarta includes entries for "electronic town hall," "LMK" ("let me know" in e-mail) and, yes, LINUX, marking tech-related definitions with a (silly-looking) lightning bolt. Instead of an essay on historical linguistics, Encarta gives a very practical five-page essay on Web research methods and Netiquette. The second, more substantial, difference concerns its audience. With help from many college English teachers, lead editor Soukhanov (Word Watch) and crew aim skillfully at undergraduates and others who need help avoiding common errors. Frequent wrong spellings ("vinagrette," "twelvth") appear as their own entries in gray strikethrough type; inserts following definitions explain correct usage, distinguishing, for example, "flaunt" from "flout." Other inserts give "literary links" (Camus for "stranger," Forster for "view") or offer "quick facts" about terms like "chaos theory." Encarta gives proper nouns troublingly minimal definitions: "Neil Armstrong" and "Jane Austen" get big portrait photos, but are identified only as "U.S. astronaut" and "British author." Obscure words and technical senses turn up, but not always reliably "no-kill" (of an animal shelter) but not "noisette"; "lingual" means only "of the tongue" or "of language," though it bears, in phonetics, a more specific sense. These and other choices may strike know-it-alls as bad news, but likely they will please a hurried, or less sophisticated, readership the volume may irritate purists, but it fills a genuine, perhaps an important, niche. (July)Forecast: Microsoft's Encarta Encyclopedia took a beating for its omissions and mistakes; this imperfect dictionary should compete not with comprehensive reference works (as Encarta World English meant to) but with other college dictionaries it could do very well if promoted vigorously.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

With the MicrosoftR and EncartaR brands, St. Martin's is a growing presence in the dictionary world. In 1999, they published the EncartaR World English Dictionary (LJ 10/1/99), and now they are bringing out this new reference. The extremely well-qualified Soukhanov was also general editor of Encarta's 1999 title and is the "Word Watch" columnist for the Atlantic Monthly. Even in the face of such expertise, however, one must ask: given the recent publication of the fourth edition of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (LJ 10/15/00), as well as the recent publication of the EncartaR World English Dictionary, do most libraries need this new title? Are its "5000 new words" worth the price? This books weights in with 90,000+ headwords (as does the new American Heritage; the EncartaR World English is somewhat larger at 100,000+ headwords). Obviously, given its title, this is intended for college students, and it offers some tools that are appropriate for them. Along with word definitions, it includes an essay titled "Using the Internet as a Research Tool" and a list of commonly misspelled words to help the budding writer. In addition, the dictionary attempts to be encyclopedia-like, offering various "Quick Facts" on a variety of topics scattered throughout and "Literary Links," which connect a word to a work of literature. These "links," it must be mentioned, are identical to the EncartaR World English's "Word Key: Cultural Note" entries. As for the definitions: while they are clearly written and often easier to understand than those in the American Heritage, in some instances the American Heritage provides more nuance and a greater variety of meanings. And the definitions here are frequently truncated or exact copies of the those appearing in the EncartaR World English (not surprising since both are based on the The Bloomsbury Corpus of World English). What this new reference does provide are words and phrases not necessarily found in other dictionaries, e.g., "dimpled chad," "left-click," "primary storage," and "sniffer." Yet many of the terms marked here as "new" (with a lighting bolt symbol) are also found in the new American Heritage. Given these overlaps in content, this new reference is only useful for libraries that serve a large student population and need a new dictionary. Those already owning both the EncartaR World English and the new American Heritage dictionaries may want to skip this one, since it adds little that is new.
- Cynthia A. Johnson, Barnard Coll. Lib., New York
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

I love the encarta dictionary.
A great tool for my home schooled highschool age grandchildren.
P. Boyd
It has every thing I need and I am glad I got it.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Orin K. Hargraves on May 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Americans, and college students in particular, are spoiled for choice in the matter of dictionaries. There are five good college dictionaries and you won't go wrong buying any of them, so the remarks here are addressed to why the Microsoft Encarta College Dictionary might be the one for you. It is the newest of all the college dictionaries. This is both a strength and a weakness. The more mature dictionaries have had the opportunity of going through multiple editions, correcting small errors and inconsistencies that have been caught by careful readers at each stage. This has not happened yet with Encarta, as other reviewers have noted. On the other hand, Encarta has many up-to-date technical and scientific terms that have not appeared in the other dictionaries yet, and it is the strongest contender by far for inclusion of computer-related terminology and acronyms, an area of vocabulary that sends many readers to the dictionary these days. Encarta is also particularly good at including compounds with specific denotation that are not transparent to the general reader: neurolinguistic programming, intermediate bulk container, sieve tube element, to name a few.
The essay in the front of the dictionary, "Usage in Crisis?" sets out the rationale for the inclusion many of the dictionary's special features. It's two pages long and worth reading to determine if you're in the class of people that is better served by this dictionary than its competitors. If you're a college student who has difficulty spelling or who struggles with the distinction between its and it's, or their, there, and they're, this is the book for you.
This dictionary has considerably more British bias than any of the other college dictionaries.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Brown on July 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
My beloved starting laughing when he saw me dive right in. What a clear & topical word bible. They even give samples of some of the howlers students have written!
The text - for these aging eyes, is a blessing! So many words, so little space to write about them!
Really Useful Stuff: Literary Links; Quick Facts; Synonym Essays; Punctuation; Language Notes; Commonly Misspelled Words; Entries with "Spellcheck" Notes; Tables and Charts. All you could ever want to know about computer-eze & the language of science & technology.
Exhilerating! Enticing! Dictionaries have at last caught up with us, & they did it in just 2 years - ah, computers! Ain't they grand? All that over a dictionary - well, what can I say? ;-) I'm mad about words!
One of the best investments you could make for the students in your life, no matter what level of education they're at!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By on July 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Say "Encarta" to high school and college students, or their teachers, and a CD-ROM springs to mind. Indeed, Microsoft Encarta CDs are updated every year, and are routinely bought by the thousands for school and home use. Now, Microsoft has brought out a new college dictionary in good old-fashioned book form under the Encarta name brand.
As with many things Microsoft does in terms of new product releases, they have come under fire from their detractors and the press. In terms of biographical entries, which can often be criticized for political bias, an AP article notes that most US Presidents are listed as statesmen, except Richard Nixon. It goes on to note that Zachary Taylor also is not mentioned as a statesman, and Franklin Pierce is mentioned as a statesman but not a President. Agnew is listed as a politician while Cheney and Gore are more succinctly defined as Vice Presidents. Dictator status is granted to one of Paraguay's rulers, but not to Franco (authoritarian leader), Saddam and Pinochet (national leaders), Idi Amin (head of state), and Stalin (statesman). Thus, the AP articles maintains, there are alleged inconsistencies, and editor Anne Soukhanov is quoted as saying the majority of entries came from the Microsoft Encarta World English Dictionary without cross-checking. Finally, the article noted that the previous World English Dictionary had a photo of Bill Gates, but not President Kennedy; this dictionary has reversed course by omitting Gates' photo and adding one for JFK.
Inconsistencies aside, this is an excellent addition to the field and should serve any high school or college student in good stead. The dictionary is broad reaching in its efforts to stand out in a crowded arena of contenders.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rosa La Luna on December 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This gets my vote for the best college dictionary at the moment. I say that partly because the competition has gotten so lazy over the years:
1. American Heritage's dictionary crowds its pages so bad that you can barely read the text along the inner margins.
2. Webster's floods the market with dictionaries with slightly different titles but none is distinguishable.
3. Oxford & Longman equivalents: not enough words.
The Encarta is easy to read, cleanly designed, and has features which are very helpful to the ESL student (usage points and common mispellings). There are a few historical inconsistencies as the other reviewer has noted, but the weak competition makes this still the best choice.
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