- Hardcover: 2662 pages
- Publisher: Merriam-Webster (1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0877792011
- ISBN-13: 978-0877792017
- Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 3.4 x 13 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 145 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language
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If big is better, the unabridged Webster's Third New International Dictionary is among the best. Weighing 12.5 pounds and measuring 4 inches thick, its 2,662 pages define more than 450,000 words spanning "a" to "zyzzogeton," including words ("disselboom" for instance) not found in other dictionaries, plus clear definitions, comprehensive etymologies, interesting asides, literary usage quotes, and a comfortable typeface. More than 150 years of accumulated scholarship helped collect the 10,000,000 usage examples that accurately provide definitions, and $3,500,000 went into producing this impressive volume. With Webster's Third you get a lot of dictionary for your money.
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.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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remember the stir it made when it first came out 40 years
ago. In recent years my paper dictionaries gather dust and I
use the cdrom versions more than ever. The OED is online at
many colleges and Oxford will soon release version 3.0 on
It's useful only for major reserarch projects. For ordinary
lookup I have been using the Shorter OED and the Random
House. Both are OK, but the Random House quotations are
mostly made up, and the OED ones are from British
literature. The MW-3 has much richer and more sophisticated
definitions, and its quotations are marvelous. Bellow,
Updike and Capote are well represented (but only one Rushdie
and one Naipaul) Historians are well covered-about 150
quotes from Oscar Handlin, 40 from Schlesinger, 30 from
Woodward, 25 from the Beards; good magazines abound, with
400 quotes from the New Republic, 600 from Newsweek, and 740
from the New Yorker; they added some newer cites for the
cd-rom edition. The search routines are superb. MW and Random House both integrate with WORD. How did I miss the cdrom version when it came out two years ago?? Dunno--they have not promoted it very well.
p.s. online you can use a good 90-year old unabridged
dictionary: the CENTURY ....