Dictionaries and Encyclopedias


Abbreviations and Acronyms

Acronym Finder
Searchable database contains over 157,000 common abbreviations and acronyms about computers, technology, telecommunications, and military acronyms and abbreviations. The "definitions" are simply expansions of the acronyms and abbreviations into one or more possible names.


All that JAS: Journal Abbreviation Sources
Online registry of Web resources that list or provide access to the full title of journal abbreviations. Useful for deciphering abbreviated title references in citations and databases. Compiled and maintained by Gerry McKiernan, Science and Technology Librarian and Bibliographer at the Iowa State University Library.


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Computer and Internet Dictionaries

Well-organized computer and internet dictionary can be browsed or searched. Includes over 2,000 individual encyclopedic definition/topics, most of which contain selected hyperlinked cross-references to other sites for further information. Additional quick-reference pages treat such subjects as file format codes, chat acronyms, and hexadecimal color codes for web pages.


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English Language Dictionaries

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language (1996 Edition)
This unabridged third edition includes over 350,000 entries and meanings. Over 34,000 examples of use are incorporated into the word definitions; also contains more than 500 usage notes, a pronunciation key, and an appendix of Indo-European roots. You can search by entry word or by the full text of the definitions.


Cambridge Dictionaries Online
Four online dictionaries are available here: (a) the Cambridge Dictionary of American English; (b) the Cambridge International Dictionary of English; (c) the Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms; and (d) the Cambridge International Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. The entries are very brief, and you can search only one dictionary at a time, but for quick reference these are useful tools.


Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary (1999 Edition)
The online version of this standard print dictionary includes the main A-Z listing of words, as well as the abbreviations, foreign words and phrases, biographical names, and geographical names sections of the print version. It also includes 1,000 illustrations and 25 tables.


OneLook® Dictionaries
Custom search engine indexes a variety of online dictionaries. As of April 2001, its database included almost 3 million terms from 682 dictionaries. The site contains a directory of all indexed dictionaries so you can narrow your search by going to a specialized source.


WordReference.com (Collins English Dictionary)
Scroll down to the "English Definition" search field to use an excellent online dictionary containing definitions for approximately 200,000 words.


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Foreign Language Dictionaries and Translators

Language Dictionaries [from yourDictionary.com]
The former Web of Online Dictionaries site established by Prof. Robert Beard of Bucknell University in 1995 became yourDictionary.com in 1999. Massive directory of online dictionaries currently contains more than 1,500 dictionaries representing more than 230 languages. The dictionaries vary greatly in size and quality, and some languages are poorly represented, but few sites have been as active in indexing language resources available on the web. The site also includes many subject and English language dictionaries.


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Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1919 Edition)
Tenth edition of this classic reference contains over 11,000 quotations and was the first new edition of John Bartlett’s corpus to be published after his death in 1905. Keep the year of publication in mind when searching.


The Quotations Archive
Over 1,600 quotations on a range of topics (the subject index includes over 60 topical categories). Can be browsed or searched. Compiled and maintained by Susan Brumbaugh of Aphids Communications since 1993.


Simpson’s Contemporary Quotations: The Most Notable Quotations: 1950-1988
More than 10,000 quotations from 4,000 sources. Simpson includes 25 categories and 60 sections ranging from "love" to "criminology." Contains author and subject indexes for browsing, or search the full text.


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Special Subjects

ArtLex: Visual Arts Dictionary
A personal project of California-based teacher Michael Delahunt, ArtLex is an online lexicon of over 3,300 art terms with definitions, images, pronunciation notes, quotations, and links to other resources on the Web. Intended for use by "artists, students and educators in art production, criticism, history, aesthetics, and education."


BuzzWhack: The Buzzword Compliant Dictionary
This useful dictionary helps keep track of the ever-growing number of acronyms, buzzwords and jargon expressions that emerge from the business world. As many of these terms can quickly migrate into other contexts, BuzzWhack can assist you in making sense of them.


A Dictionary of Slang
Although this UK-based dictionary of slang terms emphasizes usage in British English, terms from other countries are also included and in such cases, if known, the country of origin is indicated.


Online Dictionary of the Social Sciences
Maintained by Athabasca University in Alberta, this dictionary contains about 1,000 terms covering the disciplines of sociology, criminology, political science, and women's studies. Many of the specific examples, events, and names mentioned in the definitions have a Canadian focus. A good general resource for social science terminology.


[Science] Reference Desk
Page hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science contains links to dictionaries and glossaries in several scientific disciplines, including agriculture, archaeology and paleontology, biological science, chemistry, computer and information science, environmental and earth science, mathematics, medicine and health, the physical sciences, and space sciences.


Online version of Carl G. Liungman's book Thought Signs: The Semiotics of Symbols - Western Non-Pictorial Ideograms is an interesting attempt to construct a searchable database of images, in this case graphical (inconic and aniconic) representations of concepts. The site is easier to search using the "Word Index," although it also contains a "Graphic Index" you can use to describe a symbol in terms of its visual properties.


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Online version of Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases.


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The Britannica Concise Encyclopedia
Hosted by Yahoo!, this online edition of a standard one-volume reference work (known as the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Encyclopedia in print contains over 25,000 alphabetical entries, covering the arts, business, computers, geography, history, literature, medicine, philosophy, politics and popular culture.


How Stuff Works
This unique reference source answers questions about the mechanics of how a variety of things work. Although the emphasis is on technical devices (e.g., car engines, photocopiers, home appliances, etc.), the essays also address social processes and other interesting phenomena.


Merck Manual of Medical Information (Home Edition)
This standard reference work for medical information uses everyday language to describe diseases, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. You can choose a simple text or enhanced multimedia version online.


Online version of the content in CMP Media, Inc.'s Computer Desktop Encyclopedia, containing over 20,000 computer and information technology terms and definitions.