- Series: American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
- Hardcover: 2112 pages
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade; 5 Ind Thm edition (November 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0547041012
- ISBN-13: 978-0547041018
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 2.6 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (185 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition 5 Ind Thm Edition
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About the Author
The Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries are trained lexicographers with a varied array of interests and expertise. Most of the editors hold graduate degrees, and several have degrees in linguistics or in the history of the English language. All the editors familiarize themselves with the vocabulary in specific subject areas, collect materials on new developments and usage, and work in association with consultants to ensure that the content of our publications is as accurate and up-to-date as possible.Steven Pinker, Chair of the American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel, is Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He has also taught at Stanford and MIT. His research on visual cognition and the psychology of language has won prizes from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and the American Psychological Association. He has also received six honorary doctorates, several teaching awards, and numerous prizes for his books The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, and The Blank Slate. He is currently Honorary President of the Canadian Psychological Association, and writes frequently for The New Republic, The New York Times, and other publications. He has been named Humanist of the Year, and is listed in Foreign Policy and Prospect magazine s The World s Top 100 Public Intellectuals and in Time magazine s The 100 Most Influential People in the World Today. His latest book is The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
I was astounded at the reviews being so overwhelmingly positive for etymology, so I went for it.
When looking at online etymological dictionaries, where you just type into a search bar for words, it will give you paragraphs of history behind the words; the connotations, the roots, every minutia about a word. I was expecting this out of this dictionary, but it fell completely short.
The dictionary is just that, just a dictionary. The etymology is, at best, a line or two saying something like "From Middle English, earlier from Late Latin, root is dis-". That's not enough description for my interests, or etymology; and then again perhaps my understanding of etymology is skewed for one reason or another. It gives some tid-bits in the back appendix, but this can be even better summed up through other books rather than a sheaf of pages.
This dictionary does the exact same thing as the application Dictionary.com on your phone, with the same amount of etymology for a word (as described above), and it's even free and is near weightless as it being just electrons flowing around.
If you're an old fogey who is resistant to technology, like hard copy materials* for a dictionary, or just want a dictionary with lots of pictures, then this is for you.
It really is a nice dictionary; it's legible, it has fun pictures, it gives numerous definitions, and even example sentences. However, unless there's a tome within it with all of the etymologies that is another size of a book, then it's just a dictionary, not an etymological dictionary. Therefore, 3 stars: nice dictionary, not an etymological dictionary.
Look up the classic "bear", with loads of history behind it. Here's a picture of the word in the dictionary. Here's one from an online etymological dictionary (screenshot). Even the online isn't all encompassing, but it's better than this book. The book gives exactly what I mentioned: Middle English, Old English, Root; and it's at the very end.
There is an appendix in the back of the book. It's 42 pages with etymologies of roots, but not words. I expected the 2078 pages to be words with etymologies, not 42 pages of root etymologies.
*This is me. I like tangible things that don't need a battery life.*
I have had this dictionary for about three months, and I am completely satisfied. The user will find an abundance of full color photos throughout the text. In fact, it is easy to look-up one word, and then get stuck reading the definitions of other words. This never happened with my other “jumbo” dictionaries.
Unique to this work are “word histories” and “usage notes” which I find to be both helpful and interesting.
Lastly, with over 2,000 pages, the information that you want is probably within its pages.
Again, I am satisfied with my purchase.