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Paperback The American Heritage dictionary of the English language Book

ISBN: 0395090652

ISBN13: 9780395090657

The American Heritage dictionary of the English language

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Book Overview

A major revision of the Fifth Edition of The American Heritage? Dictionary of the English Language, the premier resource about words for people who seek to know more and find fresh perspectives. This... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

from a lexicographer

I'm a lexicographer and computational linguist by profession -- I have very nearly read this book (and a couple others) cover to cover. I just have to say that AH is a superior dictionary for everyday use. I work for companies that maintain online dictionaries, and am, among other things responsible for comparing the contents of these lists with the latest published dictionaries to ascertain which entries should be deleted and which new ones included. I find that AH very rarely has bad judgement with respect to selection of entries. Perhaps the reason another reviewer didn't find Carl Gauss or Reimann is because their names are actually Karl Gauss and Riemann. And I appreciate the fact that AH has gone a long way toward rectifying the perception conveyed by most older biographical dictionaries that all great people have been white, European and male. We need Gauss in there of couse, but we also need Robeson and St. Vincent Millay who won a Pulitzer Prize just like Frost, and who wrote just as beautifully. Its goal obviously is to both be a desktop dictionary in a single volume, and yet include the words that educated American speakers are likely to encounter in modern, non-technical publications. (And yes, it is an American dictionary, which is why colour is defined as 'Chiefly British, variant of color'.) This objective becomes harder and harder to achieve as the base of English-speaking people expands, and the Internet makes so many more things available to the average reader. The average person may use words like 'alacrity' less often than they did 200 years ago, but in point of fact, the average person's active vocabulary is expanding. I prefer the way they organize their word senses to what Webster does. (I never compare things to the OED, because that is a work of art, deserving of veneration.) It reserves entirely new entries for an entirely unrelated sense. AH will give iris(flower) and iris(of the eye) two different senses, but Webster's gives (though not entirely consistently) the nominal and verbal senses of, say, 'claim' entirely different entries. AH includes them under the same entry, because they are semantically very closely related. The etymological Appendix of AH is also kind of famous among linguists. They have very nicely systematized and cross-referenced their entries against their hypothesized Indo-European roots. It's quite well researched, and also a lot of fun.

The Best "College" Dictionary!

A riddle: what book weighs 8.5 lbs., is read almost every day, but is never finished? Easy answer: "The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language," third edition (1996, 1992) ["AHD"]. As a teacher of first-year college English courses, I recommend this dictionary to my students. It has large print; lists some synonyms; has word history and usage notes; offers illustrations; shows proper hyphenation, syllabification, and pronunciation of words. For the rare instance that a word is not found in the "AHD," I suggest that students consult the library's copy of the "Oxford English Dictionary," second edition ["OED"]. For classroom use, I recommend the "Oxford American Dictionary" (1980), an inexpensive paperback, which has some excellent, brief usage notes. This dictionary makes an excellent high school graduation present for the college-bound student. It is also a good reference book for the home or office library.

Far Superior to Merrium-Webster's

Without a doubt this is a far superior dictionary than the Merrium-Webster's dictionary. This dictionary is designed the way a dictionary should be. Definitions are listed not how they evolved historically, but how they are used with the most common usage of a word coming before less common uses.Also, the English usage notes in the dictionary are more reflective of the way English is used in the United States than the MW dictionary.

Among the best...; giving to my daughters for Christmas.

In 1973, just before entering college, I purchased the then current edition. It's the best dictionary I've ever owned, and among the best I've ever used (even when you consider I studied English at the college level, and have used some of the most authoritative dictionaries of the discipline). I am so sold on it, I'm giving each of my two daughters one for Christmas this year.
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