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A multi-volume Latin dictionary in the University Library of Graz.


Medieval Latin dictionarium, from Latin dictionarius, from dictio (speaking), from dictus, perfect past participle of dīcō (speak) + -arium (room, place).



dictionary (plural dictionaries)

  1. A reference work with a list of words from one or more languages, normally ordered alphabetically and explaining each word's meaning and sometimes containing information on its etymology, usage, translations, and other data.
    • 1988, Andrew Radford, chapter 7, Trasformational grammar: a first course, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, page 339:
      But what other kind(s) of syntactic information should be included in Lexical Entries? Traditional dictionaries such as Hornby's (1974) Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English include not only categorial information in their entries, but also information about the range of Complements which a given item permits (this information is represented by the use of a number/letter code).
  2. By extension, any work that has a list of material organized alphabetically; e.g. biographical dictionary, encyclopedic dictionary.
  3. (computing) An associative array, a data structure where each value is referenced by a particular key, analogous to words and definitions in a physical dictionary.


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dictionary (third-person singular simple present dictionaries, present participle dictionarying, simple past and past participle dictionaried)

  1. (transitive) To look up in a dictionary
  2. (transitive) To add to a dictionary
  3. (intransitive) To appear in a dictionary