Dictionaries come in various sizes and flavors. They include the following:
- Hardcover or Softcover
- Pocket sized or Desk top
- Abridged or Unabridged
- Student Edition or Learners’ Dictionary (Basic and Advanced)
- Technical Dictionary (e.g. Dictionary of Music)
- Thesaurus (in Dictionary form)
- On-line search for meaning and usage of words
- Free Dictionary (e.g. Wiki-dictionary)
- Oxford English Dictionary (OED)
- Chambers’ Dictionary
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary
- Jones’ Pronouncing Dictionary
- English to Burmese Dictionary (e.g. Judson)
- Burmese to English Dictionary (e.g. Judson)
- Pali-English, Pali-Burmese and Pali-English-Burmese Dictionary
A dictionary may cover
- etymology (origin and evolution) of words
One looks up a dictionary when one knows the word but is not sure of its meaning and usage.
One looks up a thesaurus when one has an idea or concept but needs to choose an appropriate word from a list of synonyms and antonyms. Dr. Mark Roget compiled a thesaurus based on his classification scheme.
Visual Dictionary and Visual Thesaurus allows one to see the relations and links of words and concepts.
With the advent of computers and Internet, dictionaries are provided in most Word Processing Systems.
An early study said that an average person learns about 20 new words every year.
By subscribing to “Word of the Day” from Merriam-Webster or by listening to “Word for the Wise” from NPR (National Public Radio), one can learn 300+ new words every year.
The old dictionaries are also known as Lexicon. The compilers are known as Lexicographers.
Lexicon is an early card game for building words. Scrabble is a later and more popular word forming game. The word challenge in Scrabble is processed using a specified “Scrabble” Dictionary (e.g. Chambers or Jones’ Pronouncing Dictionary).