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 . Retrieved January 18, 2020, from https://dictionary.apa.org/just-world-hypothesis
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Semantics. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary . Retrieved January 4, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/semantics
- Parenthetical citations : (American Psychological Association, n.d.; Merriam-Webster, n.d.)
- Narrative citations : American Psychological Association (n.d.) and Merriam-Webster (n.d.)
- Because entries in the APA Dictionary of Psychology and Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary are updated over time and are not archived, include a retrieval date in the reference.
- The author and publisher are the same for the dictionaries in the examples, so the name appears in the author element only to avoid repetition.
- Semantics refers to the “study of meanings” (Merriam-Webster, n.d., Definition 1).
2. Entry in a print dictionary
American Psychological Association. (2015). Mood induction. In APA dictionary of psychology (2nd ed., p. 667).
Merriam-Webster. (2003). Litmus test. In Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary (11th ed., p. 727).
- Parenthetical citations : (American Psychological Association, 2015; Merriam-Webster, 2003)
- Narrative citations : American Psychological Association (2015) and Merriam-Webster (2003)
- Provide any edition information about the dictionary in parentheses without italics after the dictionary title.
- Provide the page number for the entry in parentheses after the title of the dictionary. When both an edition and page number are present, place them in the same set of parentheses, separated with a comma.
This guidance has been revised from the 6th edition.
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Answered By: Paul Lai Last Updated: May 12, 2020 Views: 774284
If you are creating an in-text citation for a dictionary entry, you would follow APA's standard in-text citation guidelines of including the first part of the reference and the year. For example, your in-text citations might look like this: ( Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary , 1999) or (Onomatopoeia, n.d.). These in-text citations would then align with your reference list citations.
If you are citing a full dictionary in your reference list, you would place the title of the dictionary in the position where the author’s name would normally go, so it would look like this:
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (10th ed.). (1999). Merriam-Webster Incorporated.
If you are citing a single entry in an online dictionary, you will need to include the word that you looked up first, so it would look something like this:
Onomatopoeia. (n.d.) In Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary . http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/onomatopoeia
- Learn more about citing electronic sources.
- See How do I cite in my text? for more tips on in-text citations.
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How to cite a dictionary in APA Style
Published on November 6, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on June 16, 2022.
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.
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Table of contents, how to cite an online dictionary entry, how to cite a print dictionary.
Online dictionaries tend to be continuously updated, so you usually won’t have a specific publication date. In this case, write “n.d.” (no date) in place of the year and include a retrieval date:
Citing from a print dictionary differs in that you’ll always be using a specific edition with a publication date, so this information should appear in your citation. Do not list the publisher a second time if it is already listed in the author position.
Print dictionaries still don’t usually list authors, although in some specialist dictionaries an author may be listed. If an author for the individual entry is listed, list them in the author position instead of the publisher, and do include the publisher at the end.
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Caulfield, J. (2022, June 16). How to cite a dictionary in APA Style. Scribbr. Retrieved February 27, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-examples/dictionary/
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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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Answered By: Gopal Dutta Last Updated: Sep 23, 2021 Views: 30564
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.
(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
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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APA Citation Guide (7th edition) : Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
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Online encyclopedia or dictionary from library database - known author - no doi, online encyclopedia or dictionary from library database - known author - with doi, online encyclopedia or dictionary from a website - known author, online encyclopedia or dictionary from a web site - group author, encyclopedia or dictionary entry in print - known author, encyclopedia or dictionary in print - group author.
If an encyclopedia or dictionary entry does not indicate a specific author or co-authors, begin the citation with a group author such as Merriam-Webster or American Psychological Association, followed by the year of publication in round brackets.
Capitalize the first letter of the first word of the title of the entry and the title of the encyclopedia or dictionary.
Capitalize the first letter of proper names in titles, such as names of places or people. Example: Canada
Publication Information for Online Encyclopedias and Dictonaries
Include the publisher name for an encyclopedia or dictionary where clearly identified, just as with a book or ebook. If the author and publisher are the same, omit the publisher element.
Some electronic content is assigned a unique number called a Digital Object Identifier (DOI). If a DOI is provided for an encyclopedia or dictionary, include it after the name of the encyclopedia or dictionary of the entry and edition beginning with "https:"
You do not need to put a period after a DOI number.
If you accessed the encyclopedia or dictionary through a website, provide the URL. If the encyclopedia or dictionary provides stable archived versions, link to the latest one without "retrieved from"; no statement of the retrieval date is necessary in this case. A statement of the retrieval date should be provided for any web pages that are dynamic and not archived. When in doubt, provide a retrieval date to help the reader in case the entry you use is updated between the time you read it and the time your reader looks at it.
In-Text Citation - Page Numbers
Page numbers may not be available for an online dictionary or encyclopedia entry. Here are some options if you have no page numbers and you are quoting directly:
Count the paragraphs, and use that number where you'd normally put the page number. Put the word "para." in front of it. Example: (Smith, 2012, para. 3). This example refers to the third paragraph in the entry.
If the entry has section headings, you can use those. Encyclopedia entries often have section headings. Enter the section heading name, followed by the word "section" and then the number of the paragraph within that section. Example: (Smith, 2012, Climate section, para. 2). This example refers to the second paragraph under the Climate section of the entry.
If there is only one paragraph and no headings, as may be the case for many dictionary entries, skip the page/paragraph/section information and give the author's name and date only. Example: (Smith, 2012)
Note : All citations should be double spaced and have a hanging indent in a Reference List.
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 Initial. Second Initial if Given. (Year of Publication). Title of entry. In Editor's First Initial. Second Initial if given. Last Name (Ed.), Name of encyclopedia or dictionary ( edition if given and is not first edition, volume number if there is more than one, page range ) . Publisher Name.
Author's Last Name, First Initial. Second Initial if Given. (Year of Publication). Title of entry. In Editor's First Initial. Second Initial if given. Last Name (Ed.), Name of encyclopedia or dictionary ( edition if given and is not first edition ) . https://doi number
Author's Last Name, First Initial. Second Initial if Given. (Year of Publication).Title of entry. In Editor's First Initial. Second Initial if given. Last Name (Ed.), Name of encyclopedia or dictionary ( edition if given and is not first edition ) . Retrieved date from URL
Name of Group Author. (Year of Publication). Title of entry. In Editor's First Initial. Second Initial if given. Last Name (Ed.), Name of encyclopedia or dictionary ( edition if given and is not first edition ) . Retrieved from date URL
Title of entry. (Year article was edited, Month Day). In Wikipedia . URL for archived version of the article
Note : To find and cite the latest archived version, select "view history" in the Wikipedia entry and choose the most recent date.
Wikipedia may not be considered an acceptable source for a college or university assignment. Be sure to evaluate the content carefully and check your assignment.
Author's Last Name, First Initial. Second Initial if Given. (Year of Publication). Title of entry. In Editor's First Initial. Second Initial if given. Last Name (Ed.), Name of encyclopedia or dictionary (Volume number, pp. first page of entry-last page of entry). Publisher Name often shortened.
Name of Group Author. (Year of Publication). Title of entry. In Editor's First Initial. Second Initial if given. Last Name (Ed.), Name of encyclopedia or dictionary (Volume number if any, pp. first page of entry-last page of entry or p. page number for one page entry). Publisher Name often shortened.
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Dictionary definition (print, no author) (Sec. 9.12 APA Publication Manual, p. 289)
- If the author element is missing leave it out and use Title. (Date). Source as order of elements. Title in this case is the dictionary entry (Table 9.1, p.284, APA Publication Manual 7th ed.)
Dictionary definition (print with author) (Sec. 10.3 #47, #48 APA Publication Manual, pp 326-329)
Dictionary definition (group author same as the publisher) (Sec. 10.3 #47, APA Publication Manual, pp 326-329)
- When the group author is also the publisher, it is not necessary to indicate the publisher separately .
Dictionary definition (electronic with author, no date or continuously updated) (Sec. 10.3 #47, #48 APA Publication Manual, pp 326-329)
- When an online reference work is continuously updated and not archived use "n.d" and include retrieval date (10.3 #47, also see 9.16 for retrieval dates).
Encyclopedia entry (print with author) (Sec. 10.3 #48 APA Publication Manual, p. 328)
Encyclopedia entry (electronic with author) (Sec. 10.3 , #48 APA Publication Manual, p 328)
Wikipedia entry (Sec. 10.3 #49 APA Publication Manual, p. 329)
- Cite the archived version of the page so that readers can retrieve the version you used. Access the archived version on Wikipedia by selecting "View history" tab and then the time and date of the version you used. If a wiki does not provide permanent links to archived versions of the page, include the URL for the entry and the retrieval date.
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' D efined word' year of publication , in Title , Edition, Publisher, Place of publicatio n, viewed Date Month Year <URL>.
‘Governance’ 2012, in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, Springfield, Massachusetts , viewed 7 November 2016 <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/governance>.
Merriam-Webster's Dictionary (2012) defines governance as ...
Governance is the way that a city, company, etc., is controlled by the people who run it (Merriam-Webster's Dictionary 2012).
Author , AA year of publication , ' D efined word' in A Editor & B Editor ( e ds.), Title , Edition, Publisher, Place of publicatio n, viewed Date Month Year <URL>.
Meadows, ME 2016, ‘Biodiversity’, in D Thomas, & G Andrew (eds.), The dictionary of physical geography , 4th edn, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, viewed 9 March 2018 <https://search.credoreference.com>.
Meadows (2016) defines biodiversity as ...
Biodiversity is .... (Meadows 2016).
'Article' year of publication , in Title , Edition, Publisher, Place of publicatio n, viewed Date Month Year <URL>.
'Impressionism' 2008, In Philip's encyclopedia online , Philips, London, viewed 15 Feb 2018 <https://search.credoreference.com>.
A major movement, first in p ainting and later in music ('Impressionism' 2008).
'Impressionism' (2008) is stated as a major movement first in painting...
Author, AA year of publication, 'Title of chapter', in Title: subtitle , Edition, Publisher, Place of publication, viewed Date Month Year <URL>.
If an author for the entry is evident, treat the same way as for a chapter in an edited book.
Weatherall, D 2005, 'Thalassemia' in DN Cooper (ed.), in Encyclopaedia of the human genome, viewed 8 February 2017 <http://www.credoreference.com/entry/wileyhg/thalassemias>.
The thalassemias are the commonest genetic disorders in humans (Weatherall 2005).
As stated by Weatherall (2005) 'the thalassemias are the commonest disorders..."
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1. Entry in an online dictionary · Parenthetical citations: (American Psychological Association, n.d.; Merriam-Webster, n.d.) · Narrative citations: American
If you are citing a full dictionary in your reference list, you would place the title of the dictionary in the position where the author's
For an APA dictionary citation, list the author, publication year, entry, dictionary name, publisher, and URL.
A citation of any online dictionary or thesaurus should include the following information: ... Here are three ways you might cite the entry for hacker in the
The example provided is for an online dictionary, therefore 'online' is used in the citation in place of the page number. Example citation. (
Online Encyclopedia or Dictionary From Library Database - Known Author - No DOI ... Author's Last Name, First Initial. Second Initial if Given. (
Dictionaries and Encyclopedias ; Format. Author, A.A. (date). Title of definition. In A.A. Editor (Ed.), Title of resource (edition). Retrieved
A dictionary or encyclopedia entry is treated in much the same way as a chapter of an edited book, only you do not include page numbers.
'Defined word' year of publication, in Title, Edition, Publisher, Place of publication, viewed Date Month Year <URL>. Examples: Reference list:.
Where a particular meaning can be identified by reference to a subject field, this information is given (bracketed, in italics) --- here computation and