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From Middle English dixionare, learned borrowing from Medieval Latin dictiōnārium, from Latin dictiōnārius, from dictiō (speaking), from dictus, perfect past participle of dīcō (speak) + -ārium (room, place). By surface analysis, diction +‎ -ary.



dictionary (plural dictionaries)

Two interlanguage dictionaries.
  1. A reference work with a list of words from one or more languages, normally ordered alphabetically, explaining each word's meanings (senses), and sometimes also containing information on its etymology, pronunciation, usage, semantic relations, and translations, as well as other data.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:dictionary
    Hypernym: wordbook
    Coordinate term: thesaurus
    If you want to know the meaning of a word, look it up in the dictionary.
    • 1988, Andrew Radford, chapter 7, in Transformational 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. (preceded by the) A synchronic dictionary of a standardised language held to only contain words that are properly part of the language.
    • 1930, Norman Lindsay, chapter 6, in Redheap, Sydney, N.S.W.: Ure Smith, published 1965, →OCLC, section I, page 106:
      Look it up in the dictionary, and what do you find?
    • 2019, John Hughes, Life Pre-Intermediate Student's Book, National Geographic Learning, page 188:
      By 1986 the name Walkman was included as a word in the English dictionary.
  3. (by extension) Any work that has a list of material organized alphabetically; e.g., biographical dictionary, encyclopedic dictionary.
  4. (computing) An associative array, a data structure where each value is referenced by a particular key, analogous to words and definitions in a dictionary (sense 1).
    Hyponym: hash table
    • 2011, Jon Galloway, Phil Haack, Brad Wilson, Professional ASP.NET MVC 3:
      User calls RouteCollection.GetVirtualPath, passing in a RequestContext, a dictionary of values, and an optional route name used to select the correct route to generate the URL.

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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

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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.
    • 1866, William Henry Ward, The international day, night, and fog signal telegraph, page 12:
      By a reference to the following dictionaried abbreviations, the simplicity and harmony of each sentence will be manifestly apparent; although it does not embrace everything, and could not, as it would be far too voluminous for general use.
    • 2001, The Michigan Alumnus, page 25:
      Should I use a word that a lot of people use but isn't in the dictionary? Uncle Phil would rather get a root canal than say he was scrapbooking, because the word isn't dictionaried.
  3. (intransitive, rare) To compile a dictionary.
    • 1864, Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, volume 96, page 334:
      They [dictionary-makers] may have had their romance at home — may have been crossed in love, and thence driven to dictionarying; may have been involved in domestic tragedies — who can say?

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