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This content is taken from the Coventry University, The Alan Turing Institute & Macmillan Education's online course, Understanding English Dictionaries. Join the course to learn more.

Comparing different dictionaries

In Step 2.5 we saw that an entry in a dictionary is likely to contain:

  • The spelling(s) of the uninflected form of the word (the lemma)
  • The pronunciation(s) of this form
  • The word class the word belongs to
  • A definition, and/or translation

In Step 2.6, we read and learned that a dictionary entry might also contain additional information about the form, context, function and meaning of the word.

Now we would like you to look up the adjective ‘wicked’ in a dictionary of your choice – either expert-produced, collaborative or crowdsourced (see Week 1).

Are all the expected types of information provided?

Is there any additional information provided about form, context, usage or meaning?

Your task

You may wish to use the ‘Comparing different dictionaries resource PDF’ below as a starting point. Using the PDF resource, make a note of all the types of information that are provided in the entry for the adjective ‘wicked’ in a dictionary of your choice.

You may prefer to complete the resource to this activity, either offline on a printout of the PDF document or by using Microsoft Word or OpenOffice. If you are using a smartphone, you can also save your notes in an online application and share your completed table via a hyperlink in the comments space.

Share your findings

In the discussion area, share your reflections on what you learned from completing this task. The following questions will help you as starting points in your response.

Do some dictionaries provide more information than others?

Is information provided in different ways in different dictionaries?

Are some types of information more useful than others?

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This article is from the free online course:

Understanding English Dictionaries

Coventry University