A Dictionary is a book which lists out words and their meaning in an alphabetical order. Any dictionary aims to list out as many words as possible. Almost all languages have dictionaries.
Components of the entries in a dictionary
A good dictionary includes the following for each entry or word
- The correct phonetic pronunciation
- Syllabic consonants
- Stress syllable
- The part of speech that the word belongs to
- Meaning or meanings
- Usage of the word with examples
- Sometimes the etymology or the origin of the word
The first few pages of a dictionary explain the way that particular dictionary is to be used. One page is dedicated to the pronunciation guide or an explanation of the symbols used to represent the phonetic sounds. In an English dictionary the phonetics are often different in an American dictionary as compared to the British ones.
When you refer to a dictionary for a word you must be able to get the entire picture as to the pronunciation, meaning and usage of the word.
Different types of dictionaries
Standard dictionary – standard dictionaries have all the features mentioned above. They are revised regularly. Some of the standard dictionaries are Oxford Dictionary, Webster Dictionary, etc. A dictionary is a very good source of learning and an essential accompaniment while reading literature. Dictionaries help build vocabulary.
Picture dictionary – A picture dictionary is essentially for children, although there are some foreign language picture dictionaries for everyone. There are fewer but more commonly used words, mostly about things that are commonly sighted. The word is written next to its picture for easy comprehension.
Thesaurus – is a kind of dictionary which gives the synonyms and antonyms of a given word.
Multilingual dictionaries – are dictionaries that list out corresponding words in two languages, e.g. a French English dictionary word would list its words in French and the meanings are given in English. They are a handy source while learning a foreign language or while translating.
Subject specific dictionary – some subjects have their own jargon which is beyond the common vocabulary. In such cases those subjects have their own dictionaries for the learners. The examples would be a medical dictionary explaining medical terms and a legal dictionary explain the terms in law.
Online Dictionaries– these days there are dictionaries available online whereby you can type a word in search and many dictionaries can give you the meanings and usage of that word including an audio pronunciation.
A dictionary is a very useful tool to help learn or strengthen languages and to build vocabulary.