Re: Dictionary Reference Request

Subject: Re: Dictionary Reference Request
From: Buck & Tilly Buchanan <writer -at- DHC -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 07:52:39 -0500

> We're trying to choose a dictionary for our department and would like
> to hear from you if you either love or hate the one you have.

You didn't mention whether you wanted a paper or online dictionary.

Webster's Tenth (maybe 11th now) New Collegiate Dictionary has been the
paper preference of most of my tech writing associates for many years.
By frequent updates, this book keeps up pretty well with technology.

I also like it because it gives the etymology of each word and whether
it's now considered archaic.

Try also using Chicago Manual of Style along with it.

The Wordwatcher's guide to Good Writing & Grammar, a Writers' Digest
book by Morton S. Freeman is invaluable for questions like, "ensure or

The Modern Writer's Handbook, a McMillan Publication by Frank O'Hare and
Edward A. Kline is an invaluable aide, too.

That's more than you asked for, but "highlight and press <delete>" for
those you consider superfluous.

Our book, Tech Writing for Profit; with desktop publishing is another
helpful publication. So far it's sold 125 copies. Oh, well...

Microsoft Bookshelf (seven booksets) is great for an online reference.
I prefer 1994 to the current version, however. Here's an entry from
that CD (despite the credit given Columbia at the end).

et·y·mol·o·gy (èt´e-mòl¹e-jê) noun
plural et·y·mol·o·gies
Abbr. etym., etymol.
1. The origin and historical development of a linguistic form as shown
by determining its basic elements, earliest known use, and changes in
form and meaning, tracing its transmission from one language to another,
identifying its cognates in other languages, and reconstructing its
ancestral form where possible.

2. The branch of linguistics that deals with etymologies.

[Middle English etimologie, from Old French ethimologie, from Medieval
Latin ethimologia, from Latin etymologia, from Greek etumologia :
etumon, true sense of a word. See etymon + -logia, -logy.]
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition
is licensed from Houghton Mifflin Company. Copyright © 1992 by Houghton
Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Selected Illustrations from the Concise Columbia Encyclopedia.
Copyright © 1991 by Columbia University Press.

Good luck


Buck Buchanan

writer -at- dhc -dot- net

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