Last updated January 15, 2015

Maintained by: Kimberly Clarke

How to Find Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

A shortlist of high-use, recommended online resources

ARTFL (French)

Project for American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language.

American Sign Language Browser

Using Quicktime movie software, Michigan State University has created a dictionary of thousands of ASL signs. To see an ASL sign demonstrated, choose the sign you want from a list of nearly 30 such lists, then watch the 100K movie.

Dictionary of Old English Corpus

The Dictionary of Old English electronic corpus is a complete record of surviving Old English except for some variant manuscripts of individual texts.

Dictionary of Old English Online

Defines the vocabulary of the first six centuries (600 - 1150 A.D.) of the English language, using today's most advanced technology. The DOE complements the Middle English Dictionary (which covers the period 1100 - 1500 A.D.) and the Oxford English Dictionary (which documents the development of the English language to the present), the three together providing a full description of the vocabulary of English.

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Online

The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Online contains over 9,000 pages of material, the full text of the 10-volume print encyclopedia (more than 700 articles) with links to associated audio examples, musical illustrations, photographs, and drawings; song texts and score examples; and charts and maps of world regions.

Grand Robert de la langue française [online]

The largest French dictionary available. Contains all the conjugations of all the verbs, feminine and plural forms, etymology, nuances of use, quotations, and more.

Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians

Available in print and online versions.

Merriam Webster's Dictionary

M-W Dictionary has a neat audio pronunciation feature.

Middle English Dictionary

A comprehensive analysis of lexicon and usage for the period 1100-1500, based on the analysis of a collection of over three million citation slips, the largest collection of this kind available. Free access as of February 08, 2007.

New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

Contains over 1,900 articles by more than 1,500 of the world's leading economists.

Oxford Classical Dictionary online third edition Oxford Reference Library

A reference work on all aspects of the Graeco-Roman world. Dictionary provides coverage of Greek and Roman history, literature, myth, religion, linguistics, philosophy, law, science, art and archaeology, and topics in near eastern studies and late antiquity.

Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium

With more than 5,000 entries by an international group of eminent historians, this is the standard research tool on 1,100 years of Byzantine history. Exhaustive in its coverage, entries on patriarchy and emperors coexist with entries on surgery, musical instruments, and the baking of bread, bringing to life this vastly important culture and empire, from the 4th century to the 15th.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

This reference work provides 50,000 specially-written signed biographies of the men and women who shaped all aspects of the British past, from the earliest times to the end of the year 2000. Licensed for 1 user at a time.

Oxford Dictionary of the Renaissance

Provides rich detail on all aspects of the Renaissance in 14th to 17th century Europe. Includes comprehensive coverage of the art, literature, science, culture, philosophy, religion, economics, history, and conflict of the period. The text explores the influence that this intense intellectual and cultural revival continues to have on modern thought and society. Nearly half the entries are biographical, covering artists, thinkers, statesman, and reformers. A table of European ruling houses and a table showing the dates when cities and countries changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar are also included.

Oxford English Dictionary Online

Full-text of the 2nd ed. The OED covers words from across the English-speaking world, from North America to South Africa, from Australia and New Zealand to the Caribbean. It also offers the best in etymological analysis, listings of variant spellings, and shows pronunciation using the International Phonetic Alphabet. Prepared by J.A. Simpson and E.S.C. Weiner.

Oxford Dictionaries

Comprehensive bilingual dictionaries, and unique study materials that provide extra help with learning and using an expanding range of languages. Includes Russian and Spanish. French, German, Italian, and Chinese are no longer included in the Libraries' subscription.

Oxford Reference Online

This resource brings together 100 language and subject dictionaries and reference works - containing well over 60,000 pages - into a single cross-searchable resource.

Roget's International Thesaurus

Peter Roget's classic structure coupled with Mawson's modernization becomes even more user-friendly on with 85,000 hyperlinked cross-references"”thus fulfilling their goal of "each word being related to its neighbors and each part to the whole." Additionally, over 2,900 proverbs and quotations from classic and modern authors illustrate the 1,000-plus entries. Important: This link goes to; to access the thesaurus, look for the heading marked Reference, and select Roget's from the drop-down menu.


Paul McFedries, president of Logophilia Ltd. (a technical writing company) compiles new words, old words used in new ways and more in his glossary. Each entry lists the meaning of the word, example citation, and an earliest citation (the first time it was used in the media). Includes a mailing list. Funny, yet informative.