I'm a fan of big dictionaries. (TSFW)

One day I long to have a copy of the official compendium of the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary.

Other dictionaries in the current collection include Harper’s Dictionary of Contemporary Usage and the Highly Selective Dicitonary for the Extraordinarily Literate. I admit a certain fondness for comparing definitions between different publishers and/or editions and drawing vague conclusions.

Anyone else have good dictionaries?

I have the big version of the American Heritage, 3rd Edition - isn’t that the one that came out about 8 or so years ago and won a few, er, dictionary-type awards? You know - fewest participles dangling, or coolest use of a dipthong or something? Either way, I really enjoy using it - these days, it is incredibly old school.

I assume you have read the book **The Professor and the Madman ** (originally published in the UK as the Surgeon of Crowthorne) about the history and creation of the OED? Crackling good read…

My darling Smanata read so much of the Professor out loud while she was reading it I have left it on the backburner to simmer. My childhood friend was a Funk& Wagnalls Encyclopedic Dictionary with a billion addendums. It did not survive my last move and I feel lost without it.
My former boss took his American Collegiate with him and I miss even that, despite the constant derision I delivered unto it.

Is there a dictionary hallll of fame somewhere? A greatest hits list?

Mr. Kalea got our friends and family together to buy me the 20+ volume OED for my 30th birthday. I’d been coveting it for years. I built a little shrine in my living room to house it, and require everyone to wash their hands before touching a single volume. The said friends and family now call me whenever they have a “what’s the origin of ___” questions.

My other favorite is the Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs, though I’m looking for one which provides better etymology than the McGraw-Hill or Penguin.

You are my hero.

My Dad has the condensed two volume version. He checks it every time I leave.

Too Safe For Work?
Terribly Safe For Work?
Tres Safe For Work?
Tremendously Safe For Work?

I have the compact OED (the original two-volume one, not the newer one-volume one). Magnifying glass included, of course.

I very briefly had a huge* dictionary. The thing must have been made of six reams of paper. I picked it up for $5 at a church rummage sale I spotted as I happened to be out taking a walk.

Somehow, some time, it disappeared out of my life. We haven’t moved, and really haven’t any reason to believe someone nicked it. Plus, how would you pocket (Excuse me, sir, do you have elephantiasis or is that an unabridged dictionary in your pants?) it? But it is most definitely not here.

*Not as huge as the OED, but still!

One of the reasons I love being a translator is that I can buy huge dictionaries and have them be tax deductible. I currently have about ten fat dictionaries and forty to fifty paperback ones, in a variety of languages and subject matters.

My current English-language source is the Canadian Oxford, 2nd ed; the other fat ones include the Petit Robert, the Petit Larousse, Le Nouveau Dictionnaire Visuel Multilingue, Harrap’s Shorter English-French, Dorland’s Illustrated Medical, Dictionnaire Médical (Quevauvilliers), and Nuevo Diccionario Esencial de la Lengua Española (Santillana).

I’m a big fan of dictionaries, too, and I catch some flak for it. A lot of people think it’s very weird, so I tend to keep quiet about it.

But OED is my favorite British reference, of course. For American usage, American Heritage simply cannot be beat. I’ll occasionally glance at a Macquarie for Aussie usage.

While that’s a nice goal, if you live near a good metro library, or a Univ library, you can probably access OED online. Then you aren’t stuck looking at the 1989 version. The OED continuously updates the online version.

I have many.

The Compact OED. Alas, by the time I bought it, my eyes weren’t up to it, even with the magnifying glass, so I use the online version.

American Heritage College Dictionary – the good version (since discontinued, I believe), with PIE roots delineated in an appendix (do you know that “snack” and “snot” are related?)

A Funk and Wagnalls from the early 60s
A Websters Dictionary from the 1930s (both nice to see if terms were in use in their time periods).

Then there are the specialized dictionaries:

Spelling (haven’t used since spell check was invented, but it was nice – just a list of words without definitions).
Rhyming Dictionary (for my occasional forays into poetry).
Medical Dictionary
A Concise Etymological Dictionary of the English Language by Walter Skeat (Written in 1900. Its forward refers to the OED as a project).
Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.
Various foreign language dictionaries: French, German, Spanish, Russian, Italian.

Other similar books:
Several dictionaries of quotations, including Bartlett’s.

Reading a dictionary online is like looking at a picture of a beach. I really love to immerse myself and can’t settle for less.

My favorite reference is the Lincoln Library of Information. I have an ancient edition that I love to thumb through. http://thelincolnlibrary.com/aboutlincoln.html

(This thread is totally safe for work)

I forgot to mention my rather large Harper-Collins German-English dictionary. I have other translating dictionaries (for German, French, Italian, and a bit of Ancient Greek), but that’s the king. That, the Compact OED, a Webster’s, an American Heritage, and a Roget’s all reside on the bottom shelf on my end table. I don’t know whether it’s dorkier that they’re there, or that I actually use them all on a regular basis.

I have the compact OED, too. With magnifying glass. It solves many of our household disagreements. I love it. It was my Mom’s, and I asked to have it when I moved out.

The magnifying glass that comes with the compact edition is quite nice. I used it for all sorts of ‘science experiments’ when I was a kid.

Not big but small. And beautifully formed.

Mrs Byrne’s Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure and Preposterous Words: Gathered from Numerous and Diverse Authoritative Sources.

A few sample entries:

modoc n. 1. someone who joins the Air Force for favourable publicity. 2. a dummy used as a target for carnival ball tosses.

pagophagia n. eating a tray of ice daily for two months to help offset iron deficiency.

threpterophilia n. a fondness for female nurses.

[QUOTE=Chez Guevara]
Not big but small. And beautifully formed.

Mrs Byrne’s Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure and Preposterous Words: Gathered from Numerous and Diverse Authoritative Sources.

75 cents on half.com, the book is now mine.

(I have a fondness for nurses)

:: wordily envious ::

I would like to get the OED2, but where would I keep it? Next to my copy of the Plena Ilustrita Vortaro de Esperanto, 2005 edition, all 1000 pages of it, I guess. My main English dictionary is Collins English Dictionary, though I hope to upgrade to the Oxford Canadian sometime soon. I’m also getting quite a bit of mileage out of Pokrovskij’s six-language Computer Lexicon, though the updated version of that is only available online.