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The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition 5 Ind Thm Edition
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Learning/education is a lifelong process, and a dictionary is as essential to a home as plumbing and electricity! Instead of purchasing new software for that gaming device or a ginormous TV for the family room, consider purchasing the American Heritage Dictionary for a holiday family gift instead. It's affordable, will last a lifetime, and may even become a family heirloom!
For the entries, I looked at a short section near the word "dictionary." Compared to the fourth edition, the fifth edition dropped "didapper" (a type of grebe) and added "dicyclomine" (a medical drug); this reflects a greater emphasis on technical words. (This continues a trend that has been occurring since the first edition -- dropping "Dictograph" and "Didache" and adding "dictyosome" and "didanosine.")
To me, the outstanding feature of the American Heritage Dictionary has been the side notes -- not just synonyms, but also usage notes, word histories, etc. Unfortunately, in this respect, the fifth edition is considerably weaker than the fourth.
In the L section through "limbo", the fourth edition has 24 words with side notes (excluding synonyms), but the fifth edition has only 13. That is, about half of the old side notes are gone. The fifth edition no longer has a word history for "lemon", a usage note for "lifestyle", or a regional note for "lightning bug." There is also a small reduction in the number of words with synonyms.
These side notes made the American Heritage Dictionary fun for browsing, and the fifth edition is much weaker in this regard than the fourth. It's still an excellent dictionary, but less interesting and enjoyable than the previous edition.
The other dictionaries might have better selections and more extras (and I would most *definitely* prefer a CD/download that works on Windows instead of iOS or Android), but this is the one where I would enjoy the experience.
* the two-page spread of "Entries with Notes" [pp. vi-vii in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition : Print and CD-ROM Edition listing headwords that had Regional Notes, Our Living Language Notes, Synonym Notes, Usage Notes, and Word History Notes have disappeared without a trace
* "Regional Patterns of American Speech" essay by Lee Pederson [pp. xvi-xxi in the 4th] is nowhere to be found
* While some headwords have notes appended to them that they hadn't in the past, a lot of notes form the 4th edition are simply missing. (such as with ERR)
* some notes haven't been updated even though the situation remains fluid (such as a usage note at FORTE (1) hasn't been updated and still lists Usage Panel survey data from 1996)
* Indo-European and Semitic roots appendixes appear (after perusing the dictionary for a couple of days) to be exactly the same. (For instance, the new entry THOBE isn't referenced in the Semitic Roots appendix at all)
* Font size has changed from slightly smaller (in essays and entries) to a lot smaller (in Indo-European and Semitic Roots appendixes). Problem is that while making the font smaller did shave off over 6 pages (from 35,5 to 29) from Indo-European Roots appendix, it only shaved off half-a-page from Semitic Roots appendix, thus not reducing the page number at all. Why couldn't the font size been left the same in Semitic Roots appendix?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A review by Don the Baptist of “The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Fifth Edition”. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Don the Baptist
Beautiful color dictionary with all the latest vocabulary. A bit larger than I expected, still very useful.Published 1 month ago by Judi Howardell
Phenomenal dictionary. So easy to use. Bought as a gift & he loves it!Published 2 months ago by Karen W. Lemay
I bought this without realizing there are no etymologies. It's going back. That's part of the fun of a dictionary I can't be without!Published 3 months ago by Ginny B.