Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged

This book was edited by Philip Babcock Grove. It ws published in Springfield by Merriam-Webster. The 2002 edition is listed in BIP for $129 and $149, with no explanation that I can find for the two prices.

The preface of this book says: "This edition shows as far as possible the pronunciations prevailing in general cultivated conversational usage, both informal and formal, throughout the English-speaking world. It does not attempt to dictate what that usage should be."

In 1961, when this edition was first published, the public was shocked to find in the usage notes a "new concept of acceptability of usage...often without qualification." It has been said that it was the most controversial reference book of the generation.

This reference is available online at http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com for a fee.


  • Definitions are listed with oldest meaning first.
  • Proper names such as persons, places, and literary titles are generally excluded.
  • Usage examples:
    • "often without qualification." This means that the source for these is not sighted.
    • 200,000 examples from 20th century texts.
    • no labels (It does not tell you if it is slang, vulgar, etc.)
  • Includes 470,000 entries
  • There is a new words section in the agenda before the full dictionary pages.
  • Has a great historical emphasis.
  • Includes 200,000 examples from twentieth century from 14,000 authors; undated.

Third edition was first published in 1847. The Etymologies are listed before definitions in bold faced brackets. Abbreviations for etymologies are in the addendum. There are about 3,000 illustrations. The addendum is updated every four or five years. There has been no complete reindexing since it first was released in 1961. Like most dictionaries, this one is alphabatized letter-by-letter. This dictionary does not include antonyms. It does have 1000 synonym paragraphs.

LCSH: English Language-Dictionaries

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