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Features of a good dictionary


You will probably have some idea of the features of a good dictionary on the basis of your experience using them. If you want to find out more, do tasks 1, 2 & 3

Task 1

There are two core features of a dictionary in terms of which its degree of excellence and achievement must be measured

  • coverage
  • definition

Read the two explanations below and decide which describes coverage and which describes definition.
Drag the items on the right to the items on the left:


Yet, there are other parameters which good dictionaries, especially those aimed at learners of English, should satisfy.

Task 2

Match the features with their explanations. Insert your answers in the middle column. Then go to the ‘key’ (link key B) and check your answers.


There are various types of dictionaries. Read the types listed below and try to match them with their definitions. Then check your answers with the ‘key’


Online Dictionaries

A lot of dictionaries are available on line. A search with the term ‘dictionary’ in Google gives 41,600,000 results. Apart from the main types of dictionaries presented above there are more specialised types. Here are some examples:

  1. Dictionaries of Australian or American English
  2. Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms
  3. Dictionary of Cybernetics and Systems
  4. Etymology Dictionary
  5. Music Dictionary
  6. Dictionary of signs and ideograms
  7. Dictionary of Acronyms and Abbreviations
  8. Dictionary of Measures, Units and Conversions
  9. Medical Dictionary
  10. Law Dictionary
  11. Art Dictionary, etc

Read the following dictionary entries and try to identify the type of dictionary they come from.