Webster's third new international dictionary of the English language, unabridged

Book - 1993

Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, is the largest, most comprehensive American dictionary available, containing over 472,000 entries, 14,000 new words in a special Addenda Section, 3,000 illustrations, and 140,000 etymologies describing word origins. Boxed hardcover, buckram binding, thumb-notched.

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor REF/423/Webster Library Use Only
Reference works
Springfield, Mass. : Merriam-Webster ©1993.
Corporate Author
Merriam-Webster, Inc
Corporate Author
Merriam-Webster, Inc (-)
Other Authors
Philip Babcock Gove, 1902-1972 (-)
Physical Description
1 volume (various pagings) : illustrations (some color) ; 32 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Remaining the largest unabridged dictionary currently sold (with more than 450,000 entries in the main body), Webster's Third is still the work against which all others are compared. But with the main text now more than 30 years old, this venerable work is beginning to show its age. (The publishers recently announced a new edition will come out circa 2000.) Editors have tried to keep the vocabulary up to date with a prefatory addendum, last updated within the 1993 printing. Easily overlooked by the casual user, the addenda include, for example, the computer definition of disc as well as entirely new entries, such as identity crisis. The definitions in Webster's Third are quite lengthy when compared to other dictionaries. Whereas all senses of fondly are defined in 17 words in Random House Unabridged, Webster's Third takes 38; lancet is defined in 23 words in Random House, 53 in Webster's Third. Illustrative quotations are drawn from actual works of literature, and the 200,000 illustrative quotations far outweigh Random House's 75,000. Readers may, however, be somewhat confused by Webster's Third's pronunciation symbols. More than 80 symbols are listed on the inside front cover, with no briefer guides appearing on the bottoms of the pages within the work itself, as is the case with most other dictionaries. The reader must also be cognizant of Merriam-Webster's policy of listing definitions of words in historical order, rather than by most commonly used order. Webster's Third's greatest claim to fame, of course, is that it virtually single-handedly launched the debate of whether a dictionary should be prescriptive or descriptive, with the present work most definitely following the latter philosophy. Readers interested in an excellent recounting of the notoriety surrounding the work's release should look at Herbert Charles Morton's Story of Webster's Third: Philip Gove's Controversial Dictionary and Its Critics [RBB Ja 1 95].

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.