English dictionaries

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Mount Everest
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English dictionaries

Postby Mount Everest » Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:11 pm

Which is the best "Advanced Learner's English Dictionary" suitable for advanced (C1 or C2) learners of English: Oxford, Cambridge, Longman, Macmillan, Collins Cobuild, or Merriam-Webster's? How about https://www.dictionary.com/?

I'd like to improve my overall English skills. What are the differences between Oxford's and Cambridge's dictionaries, for example?

What do native speakers from English speaking countries usually use at primary and higher educations? What dictionaries or websites do you use when you come across words, expressions, idioms etc you don't know?

One alternative to complement the aforementioned dictionaries I have been using is this: http://www.urbandictionary.com/. Of course, I have to be careful as some definitions are not clearly written sometimes. But all in all, most of times it has been useful resource for me.
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Re: English dictionaries

Postby Skynet » Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:10 pm

There are only two things to consider when selecting an English dictionary: a) what dialect it is designed for (eg. Am. Eng vs Br. Eng) and b) at what level the students are (ie, medical, business, finance, junior, intermediate, advanced, etc). I speak and write Br. English and have used dictionaries by Cambridge, Oxford and Macmillan. There is no difference among these dictionaries - I prefer my Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners for purely sentimental reasons: it was signed and gifted to me by the UK ambassador to Zimbabwe.

These were the English dictionaries used during my primary and secondary education:

Grades 3-7: Oxford Picture Dictionary (monolingual)
Form 1 - IGCSE: Cambridge Learner's Dictionary
GCE AS/A Level English: Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary

One thing that I stumbled upon last month whilst researching how best to teach English to Middle Easterners was that Cambridge's online dictionary uses CEFR ratings -a boon for language learners.

I had never heard of Urban Dictionary before, so when I followed your link, I was taken to the hitherto unheard of idiomatic phrase 'love tumor.' The site is a slang dictionary, and should be used sparingly. For what it's worth, I was only able to recognise one word from the trending Jan 04 list and became curious to know what the rest meant. I started with Octopus Girl naively assuming it to be an allusion to Ian Fleming's Octopussy and The Living Daylights. Boy, was I wrong! Suffice it to say, I shall now take leave to gouge my eyes out! :o :shock:
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Re: English dictionaries

Postby Hashimi » Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:08 pm

The best one for advanced learners is the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. It has the richest and most helpful content. No other dictionary I tested has more example sentences, friendlier definitions, more accurate pronunciations, better coverage or better-quality recordings.

Check this comparison:

http://www.antimoon.com/how/learners-di ... review.htm
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Re: English dictionaries

Postby MrsStarez » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:11 pm

The comments about Urban Dictionary made me chuckle. I’m a native English speaker, and although I’d like to think I’m fairly switched on, I am pretty naive in some respects. I wish Urban Dictionary had been around in my teenage years, as it would have helped solve a lot of mysteries!

With regards to “proper” English dictionaries, I don’t know the differences between them but I’d say go for Oxford.
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Re: English dictionaries

Postby Neurotip » Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:56 pm

Yes, urbandictionary is a fantastic resource but a double-edged sword. Once you get a feeling for which definitions have a consensus behind them and which are just made up by some drunk guy on the internet one evening, you can learn a lot :)
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Re: English dictionaries

Postby Prodgy1 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:28 pm

I usually use dictionary.cambridge.org. It's especially for people who like to know what the word come from as to degree of word bank (B2, C1 etc.).
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Re: English dictionaries

Postby Ani » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:20 pm

It's in reverse, but I use wordreference as my first resource for French words. I'm sure it's just as good for English. You can usually find a thread for anything even a little complicated and I find those help enormously.

As a native speaker, I'd just Google a word I didn't know, I guess. If I had to pick one site, it would probably be Wikipedia, but I don't have the same gaps to fill as an advanced foreign speaker.
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Re: English dictionaries

Postby DaveAgain » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:47 pm

Mount Everest wrote:What do native speakers from English speaking countries usually use at primary and higher educations? What dictionaries or websites do you use when you come across words, expressions, idioms etc you don't know?
The most common ones I remember seeing (UK) were various offerings from Oxford. The 'oxford concise' (?) was I think the most common (small hardback one).

I think Chambers is popular with crossword people.

To look up words now I first try the dictionary on my computer (that's Oxford, but it came on the machine, I didn't choose it). Online I've used CollinsDictionary.com, but my first try would just be a web search.
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