October 16 is celebrated as Dictionary Day in honor of the famous American lexicographer Noah Webster, who was born on October 16, 1758. How shall we celebrate? Let’s consult a dictionary!
dic•tion•ar•y (dĭk’shə-nĕr’ē) n.
- A reference work containing an alphabetical list of words, with information given for each word, usually including meaning, pronunciation, and etymology.
- A reference work containing an alphabetical list of words in one language with their translations in another language.
- A reference work containing an alphabetical list of words in a particular category or subject with specialized information about them.[i]
These days, it’s easy to look up the meaning of a word (definition #1) or a translation (definition #2) online, but did you know that your library card gives you access to a treasure trove of specialized information (definition #3)?
A search for books with “dictionary” in the title yields 164 results in our Credo Reference research tool. All the usual suspects are present—The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, along with bilingual dictionaries for nine different languages—but in honor of Dictionary Day, here are a few unexpected offerings.
Descriptions adapted from Credo. Please note that you must be logged into Credo before these links will work—see below for instructions.
- With its unique blend of word and phrase etymology, cultural allusion and general knowledge, and its predilection for the esoteric and the unexpected, Brewer’s Dictionary of Modern Phrase and Fable offers a richly diverse and entertaining exploration of the linguistic and cultural landscape of the modern world. It runs the whole gamut of contemporary culture, from “American Psycho” to Dadaism.
- Covering everything from cryptozoology and the Yeti to witchcraft, earth mysteries, folklore, ghosts, human oddities, the occult, parapsychology, spiritualism, and UFOs, Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained looks at wide range of unexplained phenomena in a volume containing objective, informative, and up-to-date entries.
- Substantially revised and enlarged, the new edition of the Dictionary of Pseudonyms includes more than 2,000 new entries, bringing the volumes total to approximately 13,000 assumed names, nicknames, stage names, and aliases.
- The Illustrated Dictionary of Science covers all the major scientific disciplines. The lavishly illustrated entries explaining such topics as the solar system, plant evolution, skeletons and muscles, or geological time scale are a unique feature of this dictionary.
- Oddbins Dictionary of Wine explains the terms used in wine production, and describes grape varieties, wine regions and wine-growers around the world, wine styles and tasting terms.
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[i] “Dictionary.” The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Eds. The Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2011. Credo Reference. Web. 15 Oct 2015.