- Series: AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
- Paperback: 2074 pages
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Fourth Edition edition (September 14, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0618082301
- ISBN-13: 978-0618082308
- Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 2.8 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,846,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition : Print and CD-ROM Edition Fourth Edition Edition
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About the Author
The Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries are a team of professional lexicographers with advanced degrees in various scholarly fields. The editors familiarize themselves with the vocabulary in specific subject areas, collect materials on new developments and usage, and work with expert consultants to ensure that our publications are accurate and up-to-date.
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As for the CD, I've never owned a loadable dictionary of any quality before, so I probably have different expectations than some of the other users who have posted here. I have found it very useful and quite easy to use. When preparing documents and PowerPoint presentations, it has been an enormous time-save to be able to simply select a word and have a definition and in many cases, the etymology the word almost immediately.
Ordering this book/CD combination from Amazon was a tememndous savings over the retail store offering.
1. The ability in AHD3 is missing in AHD4 to move - using the arrow keys - backward and forward through all the words looked up since the application was last started, e.g., during the current session, and in the same sequence they were originally explored. Each word must now be re-searched from scratch, by retyping or pasting it in.
2. Instantaneous lookup in AHD3 of any word displayed within the text of a definition, just by clicking anywhere on the word, is not available in AHD4. In AHD4 CD you must cut the word (exactly), from the definition and paste it into the search window - or type it in - and then click "find" or press return. This was so sweet. What a setback. That AHD3 click-and-define feature allowed movement throughout the entire dictionary at the speed of light, on (literally) meaningful trajectories - a genuinely heady learning experience!
[Note: AHD4 CD advertises links to text in MS Office applications: by highlighting a word and right-clicking it you activate AHD4 somehow. This function, a nice addition, is not working for me, probably because I installed AHD4 before MS Office XP Pro. This kind of MS Office link installed neatly with my OED CDROM, and worked well.]
3. In the AHD3 CD but not the AHD4, the Indo-European Roots references were automatically appended to every definition recalled! While a difficult read and sometimes longer by far than the definition recalled, they never got in the way of study. They are illuminating, interesting, even entertaining. You could ignore them simply by not scrolling down to them. In AHD4 CD you must instead select "Indo-European Roots" from the Options menu and then do a manual look-up to find the reference! It's a sad loss to me. I'm no scholar but they enjoyed poking around in them - and learned from it. We can all benefit from a little such poking around. I doubt they'll be encountered by most users of AHD4.
4. In AHD3 CD the definitions data could be loaded with the application (without the pronunciation audio files), making the definitions and spellings always accessible even without the CD, just by starting AHD3. Calling up a definition in AHD4 requires the (single) CD to be loaded into a drive. Getting reference CD's onto my hard drive for fast access without having to dangle multiple CD drives from my laptop, is a major, major value to me. I'd like to have 5-6 reference works at immediate call, any time, some of them duplicating or overlapping each other.
The AHD4 paper/hardcover volume itself is pretty, with nice color thumbnails throughout - probably a step ahead in printing and content. But as a highly accessible dictionary in electronic format for lively users, the AHD4 on CD-ROM is a disappointing giant step backward in usefulness from AHD3, for me.
I will probably reinstall my AHD 3rd edition CDROM if I can find it, and run it in Windows 95 mode under Windows XP. Maybe I'll run them both. It's only disk space.
Disclaimer: This is not an exhaustive review of the AHD4 features - just the ones I had come to depend upon. And I am its new user. I might be in error, or missing things.
AHD5 is the best with an electric blue type.
Both editions are beautifully illustrated and easy-to-read.
AHD is a great combination of Dictionary and Encyclopedia--
it even has Mythological entrys.
Details: The 4th print edition is very nice and it stands up the American Heritage fame of past editions. Nice improvement. Buy it right now. Specially if you have kids or are young in mind, it begs to be explored. However, I was about to buy /download the software (CD) version -- but after reading all 11 previous reviews, it is clear it's NOT worth it. From loosing 30% of the screen due to a silly logo, to not being able to chain link through definitions (click on words you find in a definition), etc it's obviously not worth it. I read the developer's words but he just merely addresses technical glitches, not the biggest complaints which are usability. I hope the editors read these comments and improve / heed the comments for the 5th edition.