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Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary: Fully Revised and Updated Hardcover – October 15, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0760749753 ISBN-10: 0760749752
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 2264 pages
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble (October 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0760749752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760749753
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 3.5 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jesus Chrysler on July 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This dictionary, with its $20 price tag, is, given its affordability and lexical scope, literally the best you can buy today. It will be especially useful for entering or current college students, although it could serve well anyone from a high school freshman to a university professor.

I had the opportunity to hold a 2001 edition of Random House Webster's Unabridged, of which I believe the volume under discussion is some kind of facsimile or near-facsimile. Though the content of both dictionaries is literally exactly the same, the Random House lexicon is very heavy compared to this tome, which can easily be lifted using only one had by anyone of average strength.

I used the NOAD (New Oxford American) and the tenth edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary before this one. You don't have to use Webster's New Universal for long before you notice that the definitions are much more comprehensive than those of M-W and the NOAD (and, I suspect, other general purpose US dictionaries). For example, WNU lists three senses of 'phantasmagoria,' a detailed etymology, and a host of inflected forms (including variants). NOAD lists a single definition of phantasmagoria, to the effect of 'a dreamlike series of images constantly in flux' (sorry--can't quote from it because I don't have it with me: I gave away already after getting WNU!), in effect combining the first and second senses listed in WNU, and completely ignoring the third, which has a phantasmagoria as an optical illusion created by a light source in which shadows behave unreally. M-W's doesn't fare much better: though it lists three senses, they are all fairly unspecific and do not match the detail and specificity (for lack of a better word) of the WNU definition.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Rosc on May 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ok, granted, this volume is not nearly as big as the Oxford Unabridged I had access to a long time ago, at a small local library. That book occupied a table all by itself. Nor is this volume as big as my aged 2-volume Funk & Wagnalls (my favorite dictionary by far.)

I'm a bit of a dictionary collector, and so I have always wanted an unabridged dictionary, but, until the advent of the 21st century (yes, yes I know I'm old :), the only unabridged was the humongous Oxford, which, if I recall correctly, cost almost $1000! Way beyond my budget to say the least, nor could I properly care for and house such a hugh book.

So, just recently, something made me come and look for an unabridged dictionary and I was surprised to see several, such as this version of Websters, a Random House version (which I believe is essentially the same as this Websters tome), and the New American Unabridged.

Let me say, that compared to my 1950s version of the Webster, I had lost respect for the newer versions of Websters, as many key definitions had been changed with political & philosophical slants that I did not agree with. My respect for the Oxford and Funk & Wagnalls was the utmost because they did NOT cave in to these ridiculous manipulations of American culture.

Nonetheless, I found the Websters Unabridged for a dollar, in good condition. How could I refuse? LOL

It's a huge book. 11x8x3 and over 6.5lbs, so it's not going outside the house, to be sure.

My one complaint: there are no finger-tabs to aid in finding the alphabetical sections. All my other larger dictionaries have this feature, and it is needed.

Otherwise, this is a great budget-wise unabridged desktop dictionary.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Miz Ellen VINE VOICE on February 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is the "big gun" in deciding Scrabble disputes, looking up odd terms or archaic expressions. I have found that it is not comprehensive, omitting some Victorian cant expressions and coming before some new-speak technicalese expressions were coined. That's okay. This represents the best compromise possible in 2003 (the year of publication) in terms of combining useful vocabulary at an incredibly affordable price.

There's no color plates, but the black and white line drawings are informative and clear.

In addition to the glorious dictionary, there's some other nice stuff between these covers. The full texts of The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States come right upfront, even before the introduction. That's because Webster was a great American and publishing one's own dictionary is another way to liberate yourself from Mother England. The introduction makes a few telling points about the evolution of English and Shakespeare and regional dialects. There's a brief course in how to use a dictionary, which I've been meaning to read some time. I dread to discover that I have been using my dictionary the wrong way, i.e. to look up words...

On the very last page (2230) there's a chart of "Words Commonly Confused". This is a wonderful tool, clear and simple and something my spell-checker never checks for.

There's one danger in resorting to this great reference tool: distraction. I have gone to it to look up a word and gotten lost in it for hours.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By B. Klein on August 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
No fancy bells or whistles in this dense tome, but just about everything I was looking for in a dictionary: etymology, grammar, style guide, historical info, etc. The format is plain, and no color plates or atlas, but I already have an atlas, and now I have a very good dictionary for a low price.
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