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Answered By: Gopal Dutta Last Updated: Sep 23, 2021     Views: 50823

You do not always need to cite and reference a dictionary definition. Whether you need to or not will depend on the type of dictionary and/or how you are using the definition in your work.   Language dictionaries   As you are not using the words, ideas or theory of an author, you do not usually need to cite and reference a language dictionary (for example the Oxford English dictionary). Instead, introduce the definition in your writing.  One way to present this is as follows:   According to the Oxford English Dictionary the definition of [XXXXX] is [XXXXXX]   If however you have a particular need in your work to cite a language dictionary definition, for example, if comparing varying definitions from language dictionaries by different publishers, follow the format as follows.  The example provided is for an online dictionary, therefore 'online' is used in the citation in place of the page number.

Example citation

(Oxford English Dictionary, 2016:online)

If you are going to refer to the Oxford English Dictionary again in your work, introduce the acronym OED in your citation as follows

(Oxford English Dictionary [OED], 2016:online)

Oxford English Dictionary. (2016) reference, v. 3 . Oxford: Oxford University. [Online] [Accessed on 10th February 2017] http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/160845 

Subject dictionaries and encyclopedias   As subject dictionaries and encyclopedias are usually written by a specific author/s or organisation, and contextual definitions are provided, you will need to cite and reference them in the usual way.   

Many subject dictionaries and encyclopedias, are edited books with entries written by different authors. In this instance follow the format for referencing a  Chapter in an edited book  

Example reference 

Muncie, J. (2001) 'Labelling.' In McLaughlin, E. and Muncie, J. (eds.) The SAGE dictionary of criminology . London: SAGE, pp. 159-160.

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Using Word Definitions in Formal Essays: Incorporation and Citation

by Robbie Glen

A side note on titles and abbreviations: This abbreviated title rule does not always apply for the body of your paper. The OED may be called the OED in the body because, although it is an abbreviated form, people actually call it this (at least this is my explanation). Generally, abbreviated titles are only acceptable within citations, e.g. a paper on Love's Labour's Lost, while referring to the entire title in the prose, may, after the play has been identified, thereafter cite simply by using LLL followed by the act, scene and line number(s). However, the author would not say, "When the acting company first performed LLL ?"-this is too informal, and while I have seen it done, it is rare and best avoided for our purposes. When we get into writing papers that compare and contrast multiple texts from this course, you'll be able to abbreviate Fight Club as FC and The Talented Mr. Ripley as TTMR in your citations, after the first time you've identified the text by its full name. In general, one word titles are not truncated to a single letter, so we won't be representing Vertigo as V .

I've attached the OED 's entry for sympathy as a noun; as you'll see, there are four main definitions, and #1 and #3 have sub-definitions. The citation I use above shows my reader that I am referring first to the entry for sympathy as a noun, secondly that it is definition number 3, and thirdly that it is sub-definition d. Citing so specifically is crucial, especially since differences between various definitions can often be maddeningly subtle on first examination. If you are using a definition to shape or support your argument, you want to eliminate any possibility of misunderstanding on the part of your reader.

Here is the link to the definition of Sympathy as a noun.

Citing the Dictionary and Other Online Sources

A citation of any online dictionary or thesaurus should include the following information:

  • headword of the entry cited (in quotes)
  • title of the source (in italics)
  • date the dictionary or thesaurus was published, posted, or revised (Use the copyright date noted at the bottom of this and every page of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.)
  • full URL of the site (up to and including the file name)
  • date you accessed the dictionary (in parentheses)

Here are three ways you might cite the entry for hacker in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, if you accessed it on May 8, 2011.

"hacker." Merriam-Webster.com . 2011. https://www.merriam-webster.com (8 May 2011). MLA Style: "hacker." Merriam-Webster.com . Merriam-Webster, 2011. Web. 8 May 2011. APA Style: hacker. 2011. In Merriam-Webster.com . Retrieved May 8, 2011, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hacker

Citing Other Online Sources

There is no universally accepted standard for citing online sources, but it is generally adequate to indicate the document's Web address, or URL (uniform resource locator), somewhere in the citation, usually following the date on which the electronic document was published, posted, or last revised (if known).

Thus a typical citation of an online source would show the author's name, the title of the document, the title of the complete work (such as the name of a periodical) in italics, the date, and the full URL. A URL is composed of the protocol used (such as http for Web pages; other less common protocols include gopher , ftp , and telnet ), the server's identification, the directory path, and the file's name.

Here are a five sample citations of online sources:

Agmon, Eytan. "Beethoven's Op. 81a and the Psychology of Loss." Music Theory Online 2, 4 (1996). http://boethius.music.ucsb.edu/mto/ issues/mto.96.2.4/mto.2.4.agmon.html Davies, Al. 1997. Mitral Valvular Prolapse Syndrome. Medical Reporter 2, 11 (Feb.). http://www.dash.com/netro/nwx/tmr/tmr0297/valvular0297.html Thursby, Ray. "Hopping into hybrids." Salon.com . Aug. 2000. http://www.salon.com/business/feature/2000/08/15/hybrid/index.html

In many cases it is necessary or desirable to include the date of access as well. Note that the date of access will often be the only date shown, since many online documents do not include dates.

Walker, John. "Resources for Learning French." http://www.fourmilab.ch/francais/1french.html (12 Aug. 2007).

Periodicals published on paper that happen to be accessed online may be cited just like normal periodicals, with no acknowledgment of their online status, if it is clear that the text has not been altered for the online version.

References to mailing lists or newsgroup postings should begin with the author's name, include the subject line (or a made-up descriptive subject line), and provide the name and electronic address of the mailing-list server or newsgroup and the date posted. A personal e-mail message can be called "Personal communication" with no mention of its electronic medium.

Marchand, Jim. "L'humour de Berceo." (1 Oct. 1997). Medieval Texts Discussion List. [email protected] Massey, Neil. "Year 2000 and Sendmail 8.86." (1 Oct. 1997). comp.mail.sendmail

Many mailing-list discussions are archived after messages are posted. Archives are usually maintained on the mailing list's server and may also be available through a Web page. An archived message is cited in its original form unless the message was accessed through a Web server rather than the list server or newsgroup.

McCarty, Willard. "The Fate of Universities." 13 June 1997. Humanist Discussion Group. http://www.iath.virginia.edu/lists_archive/ Humanist/v11/0097.html

Note: Since many online sources are highly subject to change or deletion, any online text likely to be cited — including personal e-mail messages — should always be either downloaded onto a disk or printed out and stored on paper (with a notation of the date accessed) as a permanent record.

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How to Cite a Dictionary in APA

Last Updated: April 29, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Cara Barker, MA . Cara Barker is an Assistant Professor and Research and Instruction Librarian at Hunter Library at Western Carolina University. She received her Masters in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Washington in 2014. She has over 16 years of experience working with libraries across the United States. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 64,507 times.

Dictionaries can be extremely useful when researching a paper or article, but the rules aren’t always clear when it comes to citing them in APA. Dictionaries are actually cited the same way as encyclopedias or other reference texts. You will need both in-text citations and a full reference in a reference list. How you cite the dictionary may depend on whether you are citing a single entry or word or if you are citing the entire text.

Sample Citations

how to cite a dictionary definition in an essay

Writing In-Text Citations

Step 1 Place the citation at the end of the sentence before the period.

  • Crepuscular is an adjective meaning “of or pertaining to twilight” (Simpson, 2017).
  • The first known use of “exordium” was in 1577 ( Merriam-Webster , 2005).
  • Fabaceous appeared in Johnson’s first dictionary (Johnson, 1757, p. 757).

Step 2 Put the editor or author’s last name and the year in the parentheses.

  • A "cubit" refers to the length between the middle finger and elbow (Smith, 2007).
  • A "cubit" refers to the length between the middle finger and elbow (Smith & Chang, 2007).
  • A "cubit" refers to the length between the middle finger and elbow (Smith, Chang, Jones, Diaz, & Ahn, 2007).
  • A "cubit" refers to the length between the middle finger and elbow (Smith et al., 2007).

Step 3 Write the name of the dictionary to reference the entire work.

  • In Scots, "deasil" refers to a clockwise direction ( Dictionary.com, 2017).
  • The term "ruckus" is an Americanism that came about in the eighteenth century ( Oxford English Dictionary, 2017).

Step 4 Put the word you are referencing if you are only citing one word.

  • The "exordium" is the beginning of a treatise (Exordium, 2015).

Step 5 Include a page number if you used a physical dictionary.

  • The word "eadig" meant blessed in Anglo-Saxon (Jones, 1996, p. 250).
  • The term originally referred to an agreement between the Vatican and a foreign power (Concordat, 2001, pp. 191-192).

Referencing a Single Entry in the Reference List

Step 1 Include the citation alphabetically in your reference list.

  • If you used the dictionary to cite multiple words, do not use this method. Instead of citing individual entries, cite the entire dictionary instead.

Step 3 Place the year of publication in parentheses.

  • Crepuscular. (2017).

Step 4 Put the full title of the dictionary in italics.

  • Crepuscular. (2017). In Oxford English Dictionary

Step 5 Add the edition of the dictionary in parentheses.

  • Crepuscular. (2017). In Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.).

Step 6 Include the page numbers if you are citing a physical book.

  • Crepuscular. (2017). In Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed., pp.1005-1006).
  • Crepuscular. (2017). In Oxford English Dictionary (pp.1005-1006).
  • If you used a website, you do not need to include page numbers. Simply skip this part.

Step 7 Write the city of publication.

  • Crepuscular. (2017). In Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed., pp.1005-1006). Oxford:

Step 8 Finish the reference with the name of the publisher.

  • Crepuscular. (2017). In Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed., pp.1005-1006). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Step 9 Replace the place of publication with a URL to cite an online dictionary.

  • Crepuscular. (2017). In Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Retrieved from http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/44259 .

Citing a Whole Dictionary in the Reference List

Step 1 Place the citation in your reference list at the end of the paper.

  • Simpson, J. (ed.).
  • Rice, L. & Hilbert, R. (eds.).
  • If the dictionary does not include the names of its editors, leave this part blank. You will start the citation with the name of the dictionary instead.

Step 3 Place the year of publication in parentheses.

  • Simpson, J. (ed.). (2017).

Step 4 Italicize the full name of the dictionary.

  • Simpson, J. (ed.). (2017). Oxford English Dictionary

Step 5 Put the edition number in parentheses.

  • Simpson, J. (ed.). (2017). Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.).

Step 6 Write the city of publication and the publisher at the end.

  • Simpson, J. (ed.). (2017). Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Step 7 Start with the name of the dictionary if you do not have an editor.

  • Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.). (2005). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.

Step 8 Put a URL instead of the place of publication to cite an online dictionary.

  • Simpson, J. (ed.). (2017). Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Retrieved from http://www.oed.com .

Community Q&A

Fayre

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Cite the WHO in APA

  • ↑ https://academicanswers.waldenu.edu/faq/73139
  • ↑ https://columbiacollege-ca.libguides.com/apa/encyclopediasanddictionaries
  • ↑ https://morningside.libguides.com/APA7/references
  • ↑ http://hbl.gcc.libguides.com/c.php?g=339562&p=2286668
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_other_print_sources.html
  • ↑ https://libguides.jcu.edu.au/apa/dictionaries

About This Article

Cara Barker, MA

To cite a dictionary in APA when you're writing an in-text citation, start the citation after the period of the sentence. Each citation will contain either the author’s name or title of the dictionary, the year of publication, and a page number if there is one. This information appears in parentheses and is separated by commas. For example, a correct in-text citation will look something like, "The first known use of “exordium” was in 1577 (Merriam-Webster, 2005)." For tips on referencing a single entry or the whole dictionary in the reference list, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Home › Study Tips › How To Cite The Oxford English Dictionary: Using MLA And APA

How To Cite The Oxford English Dictionary: Using MLA And APA

  • Published June 2, 2022

how to cite a dictionary definition in an essay

Table of Contents

Writing academic essays and research papers can be more complex than it already is when you don’t know how to cite the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

It becomes even more confusing depending on what type of OED you’re using, online or print. Why? Because you cite them in different ways. You can now rest easy since you’ve come to the right place. Read more if you want to learn how to cite the Oxford English Dictionary. 

And, if you’re looking to get ahead of your competition in education, then browse our summer programs in Oxford for high school students .

MLA or APA? 

The first step to citing any reference is to figure out what style you need to follow: MLA or APA? What’s the difference, you ask?

Good question!

The most significant is that MLA (Modern Language Association) is used for arts and humanities while APA (American Psychology Association) is for social science. Once you determine which style you need to use, you’re on your way to writing an academic essay ! 

How To Cite The Oxford English Dictionary Using MLA 9th Edition

Library database, known author.

If you’re accessing the Oxford English Dictionary via a library database and you know who the author is, this is how you cite it. 

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Entry.” Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary , edited by Editor’s First Name Last Name, Edition if given and not first edition, vol. Volume Number if more than one volume, Publisher Name, Date of Publication, pp. First Page-Last Page. Name of Database . https://doi.org/DOI if there is one.

If the word you’re referencing is only found on one page, list it as such—no need to write it as a first page-last page. But if there’s no page number, you can choose to omit it. What if you don’t know who the editors are or what volume it is? You can also leave them out of your citation.  

In-Text Citation: 

(Author’s Last Name, page number)

If the page number is unavailable:

(Author’s Last Name)

Unknown Author

What if you don’t know who the author is? Here’s how to cite your entry.

“Title of Entry.” Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary , edited by Editor’s First Name Last Name, Edition if given and not first edition, vol. Volume Number, Publisher Name, Date of Publication, pp. First Page-Last Page. Name of Database . https://doi.org/DOI if there is one.

What if you don’t have specific information such as pages volume numbers and editors? You don’t have to include them. 

Since you don’t know the author, you need to input the first one to three words from the entry title. Please remember to enclose the title within quotation marks. Also, don’t forget to capitalise the first letter of each word. Just like this:

(“Diversity”)

Perhaps the easiest way to access the Oxford English Dictionary is through their various websites. If you know the author, here’s how to cite it:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Entry.” Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary , Publication or Update Date, URL. Accessed Day Month Year site was visited.

Did you notice that “Accessed Day Month Year site was visited” is unique to website citations? If you’re wondering, it simply refers to the day you visited the website. Also, don’t forget to abbreviate the month for the publication/update date and the accessed date; it’s necessary to abbreviate the month. 

If you don’t know who the author is, you can cite your entry this way:

“Title of Entry.” Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary , Publisher if known, Copyright Date or Date Updated, URL. Accessed Day Month Year site was visited.

With the lack of author information, all you have to do is place the first one to three words of the entry title within quotation marks. Remember to capitalise the first letter of each term. Here’s how:

(“Victorian”)

Of course, we can’t forget physical Oxford English Dictionaries! If you intend to use one, here’s how you can cite the material:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Entry.” Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary, edited by Editor’s First Name Last Name, Edition if given and not first edition, vol. Volume Number, Publisher Name, Year of Publication, pp. First Page-Last Page.

In case the author’s name is not provided, just the editors’, cite it this way: 

 “Title of Entry.” Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary , edited by Editor’s First Name Last Name, Edition if given and not first edition, vol. Volume Number, Publisher Name, Year of Publication, pp. First Page-Last Page.

Since there’s no author information available, you can use the first one to three words of the entry title and enclose it with quotation marks. Capitalise the first letter of each word. Then place the page number after. Take a look at this:

(“Middle Age” 545)

How To Cite Two Authors

How should you cite the material if there are two authors? By listing them how they appear on the page. Not alphabetically! 

First Author’s Last Name, First Author’s First Name, and First Name Last Name of Second Author

Here’s what it will look like:

Will, Thomas, and Melissa Jones

How To Cite More Than Two Authors

If there are more than two authors, what you need to do is to focus on the first author in the list. 

Last Name, First Name, et al. 

In actual practice, it will look like this:

Will, Thomas, et al.

How To Cite The Oxford English Dictionary Using APA 7th Edition

The APA style is more straightforward than the MLA. When citing authors, remember it’s only the last name that’s spelt out. The first name is abbreviated. If the author’s name is Melissa Jones, the citation will look like this:

Jones, M. 

If the author’s middle name is given, for instance, Melissa Smith Jones, here’s how to cite it. 

Jones, M.S. 

When referencing the Oxford English Dictionary you find online, determine if it’s an archived version or not. If not, it means that the dictionary is continuously being updated. 

Online Archived Version: 

Author A. A. (Date). Title of entry. In E. E. Editor (Ed.), Name of dictionary/encyclopedia . URL.

Online Version With Continuous Updates:

Author A. A. (n.d.). Title of entry. In E. E. Editor (Ed.), Name of dictionary/encyclopedia (edition, if not the first). Publisher. URL.

No Authors, But There Are Editors: 

Editor, A., & Editor, B. (Eds.). (Date). Dictionary/Encyclopedia entry. In Name of dictionary/encyclopedia (edition, if not the first). Publisher.

No Authors And No Editors: Use Company As Corporate Author

Corporate Author. (Date). Dictionary/Encyclopedia entry. In Name of dictionary/encyclopedia (edition, if not the first). Publisher.

In-Text Citation

(Author’s last name, date)

Wrapping Up 

There you have it! By now you know how to cite the Oxford English Dictionary using both the MLA and APA styles. You’ll be more confident writing your papers from now on.

Related Content

11 tips to improve your research skills for academic success.

how to cite a dictionary definition in an essay

Citing a Print Dictionary in MLA Format

Step 1 State which word you defined.

  • “Citation.”

Step 2 Indicate the definition number.

  • "Citation." Def. 1e.

Step 3 Identify the dictionary you used to define the word.

  • "Citation." Def. 1e. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary .

Step 4 Mention the dictionary's edition.

  • "Citation." Def. 1e. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary . 3rd ed., [2] X Research source

Step 5 List the year of publication.

  • "Citation." Def. 1e. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary . 3rd ed., 2003.

Citing an Online Dictionary in MLA Format

Step 1 Identify the cited word.

  • "Citation."

Step 2 Indicate the original source.

  • "Citation." Random House Dictionary .
  • Note: If an online dictionary source is an original dictionary, rather than a third-party one, you can skip ahead to step 2.4, indicating publication source.

Step 3 Identify the location, publisher, and year of original publication.

  • "Citation." Random House Dictionary . New York: Random House, Inc., 2012.

Step 4 Specify the online publication source.

  • "Citation." Random House Dictionary . New York: Random House, Inc., 2012. Dictionary.com .

Step 5 State that the definition came from the Web.

  • "Citation." Random House Dictionary . New York: Random House, Inc., 2012. Dictionary.com . Web.

Step 6 Conclude with the date the definition was accessed.

  • "Citation." Random House Dictionary . New York: Random House, Inc., 2012. Dictionary.com . Web. 5 December 2012.

Citing a Print Dictionary in APA Format

Step 1 State the dictionary entry used.

  • Citation. (2003).

Step 3 Specify the editor's name, if available.

  • Citation. (2003). Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary

Step 5 List the page numbers, edition, and volume in parentheses.

  • Citation. (2003). Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (p. 57, 11th ed., Vol. 1).

Step 6 Finish with the publication location and the publisher.

  • Citation. (2003). Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (p. 57, 11th ed., Vol. 1). Springfield, Massachusetts: Encyclopedia Britannica.

Citing an Online Dictionary in APA Format

Step 1 Specify as much of the original publication information as possible.

  • Citation. (2012). Random House Dictionary . New York: Random House, Inc.

Step 2 Indicate the online dictionary source you pulled the definition from.

  • Citation. (2012). Random House Dictionary . New York: Random House, Inc. Dictionary.com .

Step 3 State the date the definition was retrieved.

  • Citation. (2012). Random House Dictionary . New York: Random House, Inc. Dictionary.com . Retrieved 5 December 2012,

Step 4 Conclude with the URL of the definition.

  • Citation. (2012). Random House Dictionary . New York: Random House, Inc. Dictionary.com . Retrieved 5 December 2012, from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/citation?s=t

Citing a Print Dictionary in Chicago Style

Step 1 List the name of the dictionary used.

  • Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary ,

Step 2 List the edition of the dictionary used.

  • Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary , 11th ed.,

Step 3 State which word was defined.

  • Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary , 11th ed., s.v. "citation."

Citing an Online Dictionary in Chicago Style

Step 1 State the name of the online dictionary.

  • Dictionary.com,

Step 2 Introduce the word being defined.

  • Dictionary.com , s.v., "citation,"

Step 3 Indicate when the information was accessed.

  • Dictionary.com , s.v., "citation," accessed December 1, 2012,

Step 4 Conclude with the URL.

  • Dictionary.com , s.v., "citation," accessed December 1, 2012, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/citation?s=t .

Community Q&A

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  • ↑ http://www.library.cornell.edu/resrch/citmanage/mla
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/06/
  • ↑ http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/18/
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/05/
  • ↑ http://www.merriam-webster.com/help/citing-the-dictionary
  • ↑ http://www.easybib.com/reference/guide/apa/dictionary
  • ↑ https://www.citefast.com/styleguide.php?style=APA&sec=Encyclopedia
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/

About this article

Michelle Golden, PhD

To cite a print dictionary in MLA format, start by writing the word you defined in quotes with a period at the end. Then, if the word has more than one definition, list the definition number and letter, like "Def. 1e." Next, write the name of the dictionary you used in italics with a period at the end. Finally, list the dictionary's edition number, like "3rd ed.," followed by a comma and the year of publication. To learn how to cite an online dictionary and cite a dictionary using APA format, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Cite a Dictionary in Harvard Referencing

How to Cite a Dictionary in Harvard Referencing

3-minute read

  • 8th May 2023

If you come across a source from a dictionary and want to use it in your research, make sure you cite it correctly, both in the text and on the reference page. In this post, we’ll show you how to cite a dictionary using basic Harvard referencing , one of the most common university referencing styles.

How to Cite a Dictionary on a Reference Page

As with any citation, you’ll need to provide all the basic source information on your reference page, whether you’re citing a print or an online dictionary:

●  Author’s name

●  Year of publication

●  Title of the dictionary entry

●  Title of the dictionary

●  Edition number

●  Place of publication (for print dictionaries)

●  Publisher (for print dictionaries)

●  URL (for online dictionaries)

Please see below for examples of each format.

Print Version

Author, X. (year). “Title of dictionary entry,” Title of Dictionary , edition number. Place of Publication: Publisher.

Online Version

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Author, X. (year). “Title of dictionary entry,” Title of Dictionary, edition number [Online]. Available at: URL (Access date).

The following are examples of what each one might look like on your reference page.

Smith, E. (2023). “Symposium,” Oxford English Reference Dictionary , 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Online Version:

Smith, E. (2023). “Symposium,” Oxford English Reference Dictionary , 4th ed. [Online]. Available at: https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/us/definition/english/symposium?q=symposium (Accessed May 25, 2023).

How to Cite a Dictionary in the Text

You can use a parenthetical or a narrative citation to reference a dictionary entry in the body of your essay. A narrative citation mentions the author’s name in a sentence and immediately follows the name with the year of publication in parentheses.

A parenthetical citation provides the surname of the author and the year of publication in parentheses immediately following the sentence. A narrative citation looks like this:

And a parenthetical citation will look like this:

Be sure to follow the Harvard guidelines for citing multiple authors. For in-text citations, the names of up to two authors are included. For three or more authors, you should shorten the citation using the abbreviation “et al.”:

Expert Academic Proofreading

When conducting research for an essay, cover all your bases and make sure your citations hit the mark. When you send you paper to our expert editors, include your academic reference list and in-text citations so you can rest assured that they meet all the required guidelines.

We’re experienced in an array of referencing styles, so no matter what field you’re studying, we’ll make sure the structure and format of your citations are correct. See for yourself – try out our proofreading services by sending us a free sample of 500 words or less.

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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / Chicago Style / How To Cite a Dictionary in Chicago/Turabian

How To Cite a Dictionary in Chicago/Turabian

If you need to define an important word in your paper, you should provide a citation for the dictionary entry for that term. This guide will show you how to cite an online dictionary entry in notes-bibliography style using the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style .

Citing an online dictionary entry

Note: Popular dictionaries should be referenced in the notes only, but lesser-known dictionaries can be included in the bibliography if needed. See sections 14.232 and 14.233 of the Chicago Manual of Style for additional information.

1. Dictionary Title, s.v. “Definition word ( part of speech ),” accessed Month Date, Year, URL.

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 4.56.57 PM

1. Oxford Dictionaries , s.v. “food baby ( n. ),” accessed October 22, 2013, https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/food-baby.

Note: To cite a print dictionary entry in the notes, the entry would follow the same format, but the accessed date and URL would be omitted ( Oxford Dictionaries , s.v. “food baby ( n. ).”)

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Should you use Dictionary Definitions in Essays? (Answered)

Should you use Dictionary Definitions in Essays

Dictionary definitions are commonly used in university papers. It is also very common for teachers to mark you down for using them!

If you’re like me, you use a dictionary website or Wikipedia to find definitions of terms that you don’t understand. It can be very helpful to get your head around an idea.

Even if you use a dictionary or Wikipedia to help yourself understand a term, try not to reference these non-academic sources in your paper.

Below, I outline three reasons students who get top marks don’t use dictionary definitions in essays, and I weave-in some strategies for providing definitions from different sources:

1. Dictionary Definitions are too General. Instead, do this…

Dictionaries are written for the general public. They provide general definitions of ideas, not explanations of ideas from people within your academic field (be it Science, Education, Sociology, Communications, etc.).

Dictionary definitions were written by a group of very smart people (probably linguists) sitting around a room. They were not written by experts on specific terms or concepts.

There’s a good chance the same group of people who wrote the definition of ‘Science’ also wrote the definitions of ‘Scene’ and ‘School’. The chance that they are experts on science, scenes, and schools, however, is very, very low.

It would be much better if you got the definition of ‘Science’ from a scientist, the definition of ‘Scene’ from a media scholar, and the definition of ‘School’ from a professor in Education.

Furthermore, these linguists did not write the definitions of Science, Scene, and School for you to use in your essay.

They wrote them with a more general audience in mind: Children in Grade 3 learning words for the first time, people with English as a second language, or your grandfather doing his crossword puzzle.

To find a clear definition that is accepted in the field in which your degree is situated (Physics? Communications? Economics?) you will need to get that definition from an expert in that same field – not from a general linguist.

Take the term ‘Discourse’. Here’s how a few different people might define this term:

These three definitions of discourse are, technically, all true. But, these definitions exist in different contexts:

  • If you were to write a 5 th Grade essay on the term ‘discourse’, the dictionary definition would probably be great;
  • If you were to write a 100-level undergraduate essay in a Communications course, the definition by Expert 1 would probably work out okay;
  • If you were to write a postgraduate essay in a Sociology course, the definition by Expert 2 would likely be the only one your professor would accept.

By sourcing a definition of a concept in your assigned readings or a textbook on your specific topic, you will get as close as possible to the definition that your teacher probably expects.

It is often a good idea to define terms early in your essay in order to clearly outline the scope of your discussion for your marker. You could, for example, start a sentence or paragraph early in your essay with:

By defining a term not through a dictionary, but in relation to your field of inquiry, you will start to grow your marks and look as if you have an in-depth understanding of your field of inquiry.

2. Dictionary Definitions are not Analytical. Instead, do this…

There are very few words that can be defined in one sentence.

Most words are defined and contested by different scholars. Some see it one way, some see it another. It is very hard to find one, an overarching definition that explains exactly how a word is used by everyone who comes across it.

Above, I provided three different definitions of a term and some examples of how they might be used in an essay.

One way to really show off your critical thinking skills is to provide several different definitions of a term and compare them.

Let’s take the example of the term ‘power’. This term is very much contested in nearly every field of inquiry. To be brief, Karl Marx and Jean-Paul Sartre would likely argue for days about what power is and how it operates in society.

Marx would contest that it is exercised by the powerful to oppress the weak; Sartre would contest that we all have some power in every situation in our lives, no matter how weak we are.

Here’s an outline of how you might want to be analytical in examining definitions at university:

1. Provide Expert definition Number 1.

2. Provide Expert definition Number 2.

3. Compare the two definitions.

Here, you can write one paragraph that goes well beyond just defining a term. By following these three steps, you are showing that:

  • You have an understanding of two definitions of a term;
  • You have an understanding that different people have different definitions;
  • You have been analytical in showing how the two definitions differ.

3. It looks like you didn’t read Academic Sources. Try this instead:

Somewhere between 10% and 50% of all essays I read appear to be Essay-by-Google. That is, it’s clear the student didn’t read any assigned readings, textbooks, or journal articles in writing their essay.

These essays look like the student sat down 5 days before the due date, opened up Google, and started writing away. Teachers can tell because there are a lot of websites and, yes, dictionaries listed in the reference list.

No student is going to get a top mark when it looks like they wrote their essay by google.

If you want to make it look like you actually put effort into your essay, you want to avoid the appearance that you dug up the closes dictionary and copied down the definition.

Instead, always aim to find definitions from academic sources – preferably textbooks. Textbooks provide good, clear, and specific definitions for your area of inquiry.

So next time you want to provide a definition of a term, dig up a textbook, not a dictionary.

Now you know … Here’s how to Grow Your Grades:

Dictionary Definitions in Essays

Dictionary definitions are commonly used in essays right up to postgraduate level studies. You’re not going to fail if you use one, but you’ll never be a top student either.

Here, I have offered three reasons why you shouldn’t use dictionary definitions:

  • Dictionary definitions are too general
  • Dictionary definitions are not Analytical
  • It looks like you didn’t read Academic Sources

Top students never use dictionary definitions. If you want to be a top student, you need to start finding new academic sources for your definitions. Here are two key points that I’ve outlined in this post to help you grow your marks when using definitions:

  • Get definitions of terms from textbooks in your field of study. Check out our post on how to find scholarly articles if you can’t find them!;
  • If you find two definitions, provide both of them;
  • Compare definitions if you find several that disagree. How are they different?

To finish off, I want to give you one more reason not to use dictionary definitions that overrules the rest:

  • Teachers hate Them

Even if you disagree with me and think dictionary definitions are great, the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of teachers don’t like dictionary definitions. They will mark you down for using them.

That alone should steer you away from ever using a dictionary definition in your essay ever again.

Chris

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

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  • In-Text Citation
  • Works Quoted in Another Source
  • No Author, No Date etc.
  • Works Cited List & Sample Paper
  • Annotated Bibliography
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On This Page: Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

Encyclopedia or dictionary from library database - known author, encyclopedia or dictionary from library database - unknown author, encyclopedia or dictionary from a website - known author, encyclopedia or dictionary from a website - unknown author, encyclopedia or dictionary entry in print - known author, encyclopedia or dictionary in print - unknown author, citing two authors, citing three or more authors, abbreviating months.

In your works cited list, abbreviate months as follows: 

January = Jan. February = Feb. March = Mar. April = Apr. May = May June = June July = July August = Aug. September = Sept. October = Oct. November = Nov. December = Dec.

Spell out months fully in the body of your paper. 

It can sometimes be difficult to find out who the author of a website is. Remember that an author can be a corporation or group, not only a specific person. Author information can sometimes be found under an "About" section on a website.

If there is no known author, start the citation with the title of the article instead.

Capitalize the first letter of every important word in the title. You do not need to capitalize words such as: in, of, or an. Do not use all-caps (except for words like USA where each letter stands for something), even if the words appear that way on the article.

If there is a colon (:) in the title, include what comes after the colon (also known as the subtitle).

The publisher or sponsoring organization can often be found in a copyright notice at the bottom of the home page or on a page that gives information about the site.  When the page is authored and published by the same corporation/group/organization, omit the author and begin your citation with the title. 

Publisher information may be omitted for:

  • periodicals (journals, magazines, newspapers)
  • works published by an author or editor
  • web sites whose title is the same as the name of the publisher
  • a web site not involved in producing the work it makes (e.g. user-generated content sites like  YouTube )

The best date to use for a website is the date that the content was last updated. Otherwise look for a copyright or original publication date. Unfortunately this information may not be provided or may be hard to find. Often date information is put on the bottom of the pages of a website.

If you do not know the complete date, put as much information as you can find. For example you may have a year but no month or day.

Access Date

Date of access is optional in MLA 9th edition. When no publication date is included, we recommend including the date you last accessed the site.

Note : For your Works Cited list, all citations should be double spaced and have a hanging indent.

A "hanging indent" means that each subsequent line after the first line of your citation should be indented by 0.5 inches.

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Entry." Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary , edited by   Editor's First Name Last Name, Edition if given and not first edition, vol. Volume Number if more than one volume, Publisher Name, Date of Publication,  pp. First Page-Last Page. Name of Database .  https://doi.org/DOI if there is one.

 Note : MLA 9th edition recommends including a DOI, stable link, or URL. We recommend that URLs be left out when citing a work found in a library database. Because library databases require a login most URLs will stop working after the session ends. If there is a DOI, include this as the last element, beginning with https://doi.org/.

If you do not have information such as an editor's name, a volume or page numbers leave those sections out of your citation.

 "Title of Entry."  Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary , edited by   Editor's First Name Last Name, Edition if given and not first edition, vol. Volume Number, Publisher Name, Date of Publication, pp. First Page-Last Page.  Name of Database .   https://doi.org/DOI if there is one.

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Entry."  Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary , Publication or Update Date,   URL. Accessed  Day Month Year site was visited .  

"Title of Entry."  Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary , Publisher if known, Copyright Date or Date Updated,   URL. Accessed Day Month Year site was visited .  

"Title of Entry." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia,  Wikimedia Foundation, Day Month Year entry was last modified, Time entry was last modified, URL of entry. Accessed Day Month Year Wikipedia entry was last viewed.

 Note : The date and time the article was last modified appears at the bottom of each Wikipedia article.

Keep in mind that Wikipedia may not be considered an acceptable source for a college or university assignment. Be sure to evaluate the content carefully and check with your instructor if you can use it as a source in your assignment.

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Entry."  Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary , edited by   Editor's First Name Last Name, Edition if given and not first edition, vol. Volume Number, Publisher Name, Year of Publication, pp. First Page-Last Page.

 "Title of Entry."  Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary , edited by   Editor's First Name Last Name, Edition if given and not first edition, vol. Volume Number, Publisher Name, Year of Publication, pp. First Page-Last Page.

If there are two authors, cite the the authors as follows (list authors in the order they are given on the page, not alphabetically):

Last Name, First Name of First Author, and First Name Last Name of Second Author.

Example: Smith, James, and Sarah Johnston.

If there are three or more authors, cite only the name of the first author listed with their Last Name, First Name followed by a comma et al.

Example: Smith, James, et al.

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Cite A Dictionary entry in Harvard style

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Use the following template or our Harvard Referencing Generator how to cite a dictionary. For help with other source types, like books, PDFs, or websites, check out our other guides. To have your reference list or bibliography automatically made for you, try our free citation generator .

Reference list

Place this part in your bibliography or reference list at the end of your assignment.

In-text citation

Place this part right after the quote or reference to the source in your assignment.

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How to Define a Word in an Essay: Text, Sentence, or Paragraph

  • by Joseph Kenas
  • December 1, 2023
  • Writing Tips

How to Define a Word in an Essay

While writing your essay, you may feel the passion for using specific words that could be challenging for the reader to understand what you are referring to. In this guide, we teach you how to define a word in an essay, in a text, sentence, or within a paragraph.

In as much as you understand the easy topic inside out, the potential reader may hang while reading new vocabulary. 

It could be awkward if you write word-to-word definitions from your dictionary. Also, it could disorganize or be confusing if you use the definition in the wrong part.

The best way to use definitions effectively is by using your own words and remaining concise. You can opt to introduce definitions in the essay’s body instead of in the introduction. 

Defining Word in an Essay

Before elaborating on the word in definition terms, determine whether the word is unusual enough to require a definition.

While is it acceptable for you to define technical jargon in your essay, avoid defining every advanced vocabulary in the essay. 

Rephrase the definition in your own words. You must include a full quotation if you are word-to-word definition from the dictionary. For instance, you can make the sentence flow better by

defining a word like ‘workout’, as follows: “Workout is an exercise of improving one’s fitness and performance.”

If you are using in-text citations, you should cite the dictionary or the textbook that you took the definition from when you end the sentences.

When it is the first time you are using such a source, then use the full title backed by the abbreviation. By doing correct referencing of the definition source you used, you will be avoiding plagiarism in your essay. 

Let the definition be in the body and not the introduction since the introduction ought to catch the reader’s attention as you lay your thesis. Alternatively, if you want to avoid defining a word, then use synonyms.

Keep the definition as short as possible. But, if you believe the definition could belong, then you can break it into shorter sentences to bring clarity to your essay. 

How to Define a Word in a Sentence

Do you want to explain something in the middle of the sentence without confusing the reader? 

How to define a word in a sentence

While it is true that you may be harboring a lot of terminologies in your context that require some explanation, you must do it tactfully to promote the flow of your sentences well. 

There are three ways you can insert a definition in the mid-sentence as provided by the following examples. 

1. By Using Commas

You can use commas as a way of punctuating your sentence to enhance the meaning. For example:

“John and Joseph had to see Bill gates, the leader of Microsoft Corporation, and advise him….”

2. Em and En Dashes 

They are not synonymous with hyphens but are needed to punctuate your sentence and restore your intended meaning. For example, we can paraphrase the above sentence to appear as follows:

“John and Joseph had to see Bill gates — the leader of Microsoft Corporation — and advise him….”

3. Parenthetical Aside

It is also another suitable method to use when inserting a definition in the mid-sentence to update the reader with additional facts. 

“John and Joseph had to see Bill gates (the leader of Microsoft Corporation) and advise him….”

How to Quote a Definition in a Sentence/Essay

When writing your essay, you will encounter such issues, which are usually unavoidable. If we assume that you are using APA style for referencing, one must quote a definition inside double quotes. 

How to Quote a Definition in a Sentence/Essay

That is “Definition,” and put the author, year, and page numbers. 

A definition in an essay examples

  • McCarthy and George (1990) defined the essay as “a literary composition which represents author’s arguments on a specific topic.” P.87
  • An essay is “a literary composition which represents author’s arguments on a specific topic.” (McCarthy and George, 1990, P.87)
  • McCarthy and George (1990, P.87) defined an essay as “a literary composition which represents author’s arguments on a specific topic.”

Such definitions come in handy when you are writing essays that require you to understand one thing well. A good example is when writing a comparison essay or a definition essay. Let us explore how to write a definition essay here.

Tips on How to Write a Definition Essay

A definition essay could be a piece of writing where you write your own meaning. One must ensure that you research your definition well and support it with evidence.

In addition, it could be an explanation of what specific terms mean in your context. This becomes a paragraph. Check out how to write good definition paragraphs and understand them from another perspective.

Writing a definition essay

Some of the terms could have literal meanings, like a phone, tablet, or spoon.

Other abstracts, such as truth, love, or success, will depend on the person’s point of view.

Different papers carry varying meanings; hence when writing one, you must be precise to help the reader understand what you are talking about. 

It could be reasonable if you remain unique as you write a definition essay. Avoid expressing meaning using the same words.

Before you choose a definition essay topic, ensure that you select an abstract word that has a complex meaning. Also, ensure that the same word is indisputable.

Tips on How to Define a Word in a Text or Paragraph

1. select a word.

The main point of view when writing an essay is selecting an idea or concept. Select a word that will describe an idea like hate, love, etc., and ensure that you understand the term you are choosing completely. 

You can read from the dictionary but avoid extracting the definition from there. Instead, explain it in your own words.

Suppose your concept is open, then find your unique definition based on experience. After that, find the basis to support your definitions. 

2. Select a Word That You Know

It is suitable to settle for the word that you are familiar with and you have a basic understanding of the word. Doing so helps you to write easily. For example, you can select a word like ‘pride’ because you understand its meaning and what it feels as you use it in your context. 

3. Select a Word With Different Meanings 

Selecting a word with plural meanings comes in handy when you believe it will bring a different meaning to various people. As you write about it, there is an opportunity to involve your understanding and interpretations of other people. 

For example, one can select a word like “love” because it comes with varying meanings. Every person will understand and interoperate it uniquely. 

4. Avoid Specific Things and Objects 

Stay away from selecting such things as “cups “or “pillow” because it complicates your writing because you cannot write a lot on specific objects. That makes the essay appear superficial and not shrewd enough.  

5. Go Online

With an internet connection, you can seek an online platform and get enough information about what you want. The internet has several scholarly academic blogs and articles.

Additionally, you can still access videos created by smart people who deeply researched different words and shared them with you.   

6. Access the Dictionary 

It is true that every official word has a deeper dictionary meaning. Tactfully, it is vital that you familiarize yourself with yourself before using it in your contexts.

You must take a closer look at the definition structure before deciding to use it. Ensure that you explain it in your own understanding when writing about it. 

7. Know the Origin of the Word

Before using a specific word, it is critical to study and understand its origin. One way of researching the word is involving encyclopedias to get theories and ideas about that particular word.

For instance, if you are picking a word in the medical field, then you should consult the encyclopedia in the medical field.

8. Ask Colleagues  

While it is crucial to have your perspective about the word, you can still ask friends and family about the meaning of that particular word.

Let them explain to you what it feels when you mention such a particular word. Later, you can record the answers and utilize them as your sources.

how to cite a dictionary definition in an essay

Joseph is a freelance journalist and a part-time writer with a particular interest in the gig economy. He writes about schooling, college life, and changing trends in education. When not writing, Joseph is hiking or playing chess.

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COMMENTS

  1. How to cite a dictionary in APA Style

    Revised on January 17, 2024. To cite a dictionary definition in APA Style, start with the author of the dictionary (usually an organization), followed by the publication year, the word you're citing, the dictionary name, the publisher (if not already listed as author), and the URL. Our free APA Citation Generator can help you create accurate ...

  2. How do I reference a dictionary definition?

    Instead, introduce the definition in your writing. One way to present this is as follows: According to the Oxford English Dictionary the definition of [XXXXX] is [XXXXXX] If however you have a particular need in your work to cite a language dictionary definition, for example, if comparing varying definitions from language dictionaries by ...

  3. How do I cite a definition using APA style?

    Merriam-Webster, Inc. To cite a definition within the text, you would place the institution or organizations and the date of publication in parentheses after the relevant phrase and before the punctuation mark. Example: (Merriam-Webster, 2003) Merriam-Webster (2003)

  4. Dictionary entry references

    Dictionary Entry References. This page contains reference examples for dictionary entries, including the following: Entry in an online dictionary. Entry in a print dictionary. 1. Entry in an online dictionary. American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Just-world hypothesis. In APA dictionary of psychology.

  5. Using Word Definitions in Formal Essays: Incorporation and Citation

    What the citation will look like: Include the particulars in your citation. If you are using one of the definitions of sympathy in your paper, you might say something like this: Sympathy, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, canbe a "favourable attitude of mind towards a party" ( OED, n. 3.d.).OR, if you've already mentioned the OED ...

  6. Citing the Dictionary and Other Online Sources

    A citation of any online dictionary or thesaurus should include the following information: date the dictionary or thesaurus was published, posted, or revised (Use the copyright date noted at the bottom of this and every page of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.) Here are three ways you might cite the entry for hacker in the Merriam-Webster Online ...

  7. How to Cite a Dictionary in APA

    Cite the organization as the author and leave out the publisher information. Place "n.d." for "no date" where publication information usually goes. Include a "Retrieved date" since there is no published date and the information may change over time. Online dictionary reference page structure: Organization Name. (n.d.). Dictionary or ...

  8. How to Cite a Dictionary Entry in APA Referencing

    As such, when citing an online dictionary in APA style, you should: Cite the publishing organization in place of an individual author (e.g., Merriam-Webster, Oxford University Press). Use the abbreviation "n.d." (meaning "no date") in place of the date. In practice, then, citations for an online dictionary might look like this:

  9. Setting Up Dictionary Citations for Your Essay

    Setting Up Dictionary Citations for Your Essay. By Adrienne Mathewson. Certified Librarian. In Citations, How To. 3 Min read. A good way to guide your reader to the exact definition of a word you've used in your essay is to include a dictionary citation. You should keep in mind, however, that reference works, like dictionaries and ...

  10. How to Cite a Dictionary in MLA

    Citing a dictionary entry from a website or print book. "Title of Entry.". Title of Dictionary, edition (if applicable), Publisher, date published, page number or URL. *Title note: If the word you are citing includes multiple parts of speech and/or definitions, be sure to include the specific definition you are citing as part of the title.

  11. 3 Ways to Cite a Dictionary Meaning in MLA

    3. Write the edition if you're citing a subsequent edition. Check the back side of the dictionary's title page for the edition number. If you're citing the first edition, don't include the edition number. Use the abbreviation "ed." and write a comma after the period in the abbreviation.

  12. 4 Ways to Cite a Dictionary in APA

    Organize all of the sources, including the dictionary, alphabetically by the last name of the author. If you do not have the last name of the author, use the title of the work or dictionary instead. [8] 2. Write the last name and first initials of the editors. The last name always goes first in an APA citation.

  13. How To Cite The Oxford English Dictionary: Using MLA And APA

    Known Author. Perhaps the easiest way to access the Oxford English Dictionary is through their various websites. If you know the author, here's how to cite it: Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Entry.". Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary, Publication or Update Date, URL. Accessed Day Month Year site was visited.

  14. 7 Ways to Cite a Dictionary

    End the line with a period. Follow the format below continuing with the "citation" example: "Citation." Def. 1e. 3. Identify the dictionary you used to define the word. Type the name of the dictionary in italics and follow it with a period. "Citation." Def. 1e.

  15. How to Cite a Dictionary in Harvard Referencing

    As with any citation, you'll need to provide all the basic source information on your reference page, whether you're citing a print or an online dictionary: Author's name. Year of publication. Title of the dictionary entry. Title of the dictionary. Edition number. Place of publication (for print dictionaries)

  16. How To Cite a Dictionary in Chicago/Turabian

    Website. Create manual citation. If you need to define an important word in your paper, you should provide a citation for the dictionary entry for that term. This guide will show you how to cite an online dictionary entry in notes-bibliography style using the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style.

  17. Do I need to cite a source when defining terms?

    Instead cite somebody if: You rely on a specific piece of work. If you had to look up the definition instead of coming up with it yourself, this almost certainly applies. Keep in mind that coming up with a useful definition of some things is a challenge and deserves credit. On the other hand, as a rule of thumb, you do not need to cite if you ...

  18. Should you use Dictionary Definitions in Essays? (Answered)

    These three definitions of discourse are, technically, all true. But, these definitions exist in different contexts: If you were to write a 5 th Grade essay on the term 'discourse', the dictionary definition would probably be great;; If you were to write a 100-level undergraduate essay in a Communications course, the definition by Expert 1 would probably work out okay;

  19. MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

    In-Text Citation Example ("Shortened Title of Entry" Page Number) Example: ("Guyana" 283) Note: If a dictionary or encyclopedia entry has no author, the in-text citation should include the first one, two or three words of the title of the entry. The title of the entry should be in quotation marks, with each word starting with a capital letter.

  20. How to Cite a Dictionary Entry in Harvard Style

    The general Harvard format for in-text citation of a dictionary entry without author name is: Name of dictionary in italics followed by year accessed and entry title and page # if present, for example: ( World encyclopedia 2014, microeconomics entry) In such a case, the name of the dictionary itself is considered the name of the author.

  21. Cite A Dictionary entry in Harvard style

    Search. Use the following template or our Harvard Referencing Generator how to cite a dictionary. For help with other source types, like books, PDFs, or websites, check out our other guides. To have your reference list or bibliography automatically made for you, try our free citation generator.

  22. How to Define a Word in an Essay: Text, Sentence, or Paragraph

    Tips on How to Define a Word in a Text or Paragraph. 1. Select a Word. The main point of view when writing an essay is selecting an idea or concept. Select a word that will describe an idea like hate, love, etc., and ensure that you understand the term you are choosing completely.