- Publisher: Merriam-Webster; CD-Rom edition (August 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0877794669
- ISBN-13: 978-0877794660
- Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 8 x 2.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,273,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary & Thesaurus, Deluxe Audio Edition CD-Rom Edition
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Not everyone needs a dictionary that's heavier than a Thanksgiving turkey and a vocabulary of 450,000 words. The Collegiate Dictionary, a mere 3.5 pounds, is an excellent compromise, with clear definitions and brief etymologies. Few students and professionals will want for words not covered within its 1500-plus pages. Biographical and geographical names are relegated to the index, which also includes a "Handbook of Style." A fine up-to-date starter dictionary (copyright 1996), it's small enough for a student's desk, and comprehensive enough to maintain Merriam-Webster's standards. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
The Merriam brothers desired a continuity of editorship that would link Noah Webster's efforts with their own editions, so they selected Chauncey A. Goodrich, Webster's son-in-law and literary heir, who had been trained in lexicography by Webster himself, to be their editor in chief. Webster's son William also served as an editor of that first Merriam-Webster dictionary, which was published on September 24, 1847.
Although Webster's work was honored, his big dictionaries had never sold well. The 1828 edition was priced at a whopping $20; in 13 years its 2,500 copies had not sold out. Similarly, the 1841 edition, only slightly more affordable at $15, moved slowly. Assuming that a lower price would increase sales, the Merriams introduced the 1847 edition at $6, and although Webster's heirs initially questioned this move, extraordinary sales that brought them $250,000 in royalties over the ensuing 25 years convinced them that the Merriams' decision had been abundantly sound.
The first Merriam-Webster dictionary was greeted with wide acclaim. President James K. Polk, General Zachary Taylor (hero of the Mexican War and later president himself), 31 U.S. senators, and other prominent people hailed it unreservedly. In 1850 its acceptance as a resource for students began when Massachusetts ordered a copy for every school and New York placed a similar order for 10,000 copies to be used in schools throughout the state. Eventually school use would spread throughout the country. In becoming America's most trusted authority on the English language, Merriam-Webster dictionaries had taken on a role of public responsibility demanded of few other publishing companies.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a huge volume (about 3" thick), beautifully presented in library style binding and wafer thin, high quality paper. It includes illustrations, anecdotes, stories on word origins and usage; and even synonyms of particularly interesting words. These references are spread throughout the pages in different blocks of color for easy recognition. The illustrations are very realistic, using colors that approach the ones given by Mother Nature. Before starting to use it, I reccommend paying close attention to the "Explanatory Notes". Here is everything needed to know in order to milk this dictionary to its fullest. Every reason is given as to why items appear listed in the way they do, what were the basis used for etymology of the words, etc. The "Guide to Pronounciation" is both interesting and exciting, enabling us to produce a myriad of sounds we probably never knew existed. I am the kind of reader who looks up every unknown word in her dictionary and, so far, there is not a single one I haven't found; not even if belonging to a dialect or if it is a word with foreign roots.
Two appendixes complete this magnanimous volume: a biographical one and a geographical guide. Although brief, these two listings will quickly clear up any doubts on identity or place. There are also listings for symbols, such as weather, chemistry, mathematics, even stamp collecting. A supplementary "Handbook of Style" to refer to when writing a paper or in need of punctuation advise completes the dictionary and makes also an invaluable tool for writers of any kind.
This is THE dictionary that should be in every household as a more general, complete reference. Even if there are other, smaller or more specific references around; you would want this volume as your backbone.
As soon as I installed this program I entered the word "scone;" and on the right side of the screen the word appeared in blue (meaning that the program would pronounce it); and when I clicked on it, the wonderful sound of a properly pronounced "scone" issued from the speakers.
Next on my list of peeves came "nuclear;" the dictionary advised me to unpeeve myself off this one, because (according to M-W) our president's "nukelar" is an accepted pronunciation "which has found widespread use among educated speakers, including scientists, layers, professors, congressmen, U.S. cabinet members, and at least one U.S. president...." Oh, my!
Words taken from French (as is usual with English speakers) are correctly pronounced: such as "hors d'oeuvre;" while those borrowed from the Spanish, (as is usual with English speakers) are generally mispronounced (including the two attempts at "rodeo"). Some words are not pronounced at all, at least in my copy of the book, (such as "umlaut"), and I suspect that there are a few bugs in the program that underlies the book. But for now it is honeymoon time and I am spending an inordinate amount of hours loving this CD-ROM and not wanting to perceive that there is anything wrong with it. In a few months I may have to amend this review.
The speakers of the words are professional actors, one male, one female, and their diction is a true joy. I highly recommend this dictionary to all residents of the US who are foreign born; and also to Southerners, Midwesterners, New Englanders, New Yorkers...well, you get the picture.
used daily, whether solving crosswords,
finding definitions, or settling debates. Of
the several we own, the dictionary we all
reach for first is Merriam-Webster's Collegiate.
The definitions are concise yet thorough and clear. I always feel enlightened rather than informed. Also, the coverage is surprisingly broad. I've often found words in the Merriam-Webster's that are missing in other dictionaries.
Beyond that, Merriam-Webster's breathes life into those words with an engaging history of the English language and a date each word is first noted in print. The dates give you a real feel for the history and currency of a word.
If you don't have the bank account or shelf space for the OED, Merriam-Webster's is the best dictionary you can own.