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Can anyone recommend a Dictionary, please.

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I am extremely well read, and thought I had a large vocabulary, until I started reading Jan Morris. I find myself reaching for the Dictionary every other page.
The problem I am having is that my Dictionary, the Oxford Paperback Dictionary and Thesaurus, does not have quite a lot of the words I am struggling with.
I do not wish to search on the internet for the words, whilst reading, as this distracts me, and can take me down the internet black hole.
To be fair to Morris, I do get the meaning of many of the words, from the context of the sentence.
I have looked online, and am very surprised at the choice of Dictionaries, I just assumed all are equal, but I think not, and I do not wish to buy one that is no better than what I have.

Thanks in advance.

 Doug 08:58 Fri
In reply to Steve Crossley:

My 'big dictionary' is a copy of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary which is 2 hefty volumes.  My copy is now some 20 years old so doesn't have more recent words/meanings. I suspect its expensive to buy, mine was a present.

Looking up a word can be almost as bad as the internet for being distracted...

Post edited at 09:01
In reply to Doug:

That looks just the job, and I can get one for £20 or £30. Obviously I had to find out about the full OED, which apparently is/was 20 volumes. The OED website is remarkably uninformative about printed dictionaries, it seems to be an online resource.

Thank you for your time.

 upordown 18:34 Fri
In reply to Doug:

> My 'big dictionary' is a copy of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary which is 2 hefty volumes. 

Also known as the Longer Shorter Oxford English Dictionary

In reply to Steve Crossley:

All my friends consider me much more erudite since I started using this:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger's_Profanisaurus

 deepsoup 18:58 Fri
In reply to Steve Crossley:

My 'big dictionary', bought when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was a student, is Chambers.  At the time it was generally thought of as the best single-volume dictionary, and I think it possibly still is.

https://chambers.co.uk/book/the-chambers-dictionary/

 Pedro50 19:13 Fri
In reply to deepsoup:

Yes love Chambers, some quirky hidden gems.

In reply to Steve Crossley:

Tha “Shorter” (all things are relative!) is the essence of the complete OED. What’s mostly left out is the word histories, though you still get some of that. For meanings,especially if you sometimes read older texts, it’s pretty definitive.

 I think you’re right that the complete is now online subscription only, and only affordable for institutions or the truly obsessed.

In reply to Steve Crossley:

We have the compact edition of the full OED (1st Ed) - printed in two volumes, four pages printed to each page.  Each volume is bigger than A4 and about 7cm thick.  My father has the even more compact one, nine pages to a page.  I see on eBay that both versions can be had for about £20 these days.  It is obviously a long way out of date, and a bugger to search through, but it's incredibly detailed. 

The point of the OED is to record historical usage, so it gives examples of each word being used, ideally the earliest recorded usage of each sense.  This makes new editions incredibly slow - the 2nd Ed is the 'current' one and I see that the 3rd Ed is slated for the late 2030s... I'm not sure if they are constantly updating the online version. 

You probably want the ODE (brilliant naming there from OUP - nobody could possibly confuse those two acronyms, could they?) which is an attempt at a modern definitive, without the historical aspect.  As the purposes are different, the OED and ODE are quite separate from each other, which is why you're not finding much about the ODE on the OED website.

 DaveHK 09:45 Sat
In reply to Doug:

> My 'big dictionary' is a copy of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary which is 2 hefty volumes.  

I was delighted to pick that up in a charity shop for £3. 

In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

> You probably want the ODE (brilliant naming there from OUP - nobody could possibly confuse those two acronyms, could they?) which is an attempt at a modern definitive, without the historical aspect.  As the purposes are different, the OED and ODE are quite separate from each other, which is why you're not finding much about the ODE on the OED website.

 Confused I am  Is OUP  Oxford university press 

OED  Oxford English dictionary 

ODE  Oxford dictionary of English ?

 As below charity shops can’t shift them  

In reply to Name Changed 34:

Yes.  The Oxford University Press (OUP) publishes both the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), which is a historical usage dictionary that aims to record the first use of every sense of every word in the language, and also the Oxford Dictionary of English (ODE), which is a record of the current meaning of every word commonly used in the language today.  If you don't care about the development of words and just want to know their current meaning, then the ODE is more appropriate.

If that's not enough, there are cut-down (both in print size and coverage) versions of both of these dictionaries... there's the Compact OED (using either four or nine pages to one page) which needs a magnifying glass to read, but is still the whole OED, and there's also the Shorter OED which is an abridgement of the full OED.  But most smaller Oxford branded dictionaries are versions of the ODE.

 Bob Kemp 11:07 Sat
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

We have a 1986 reprint of the two-volume Shorter Oxford. As well as being out of date the two volumes are rather hard to handle in mid-read, so it isn't really very suitable for the OP's purpose. I don't think I've used it for at least a decade.

 Basemetal 13:01 Sat
In reply to Steve Crossley:

Another option- When I was studying in the 80's I bought this Collins Dictionary when it first came out - it had a pretty good coverage of scientific and technical terms for its size, and it wasn't printed on heavy paper (the weight impacts usability of books more than size, I find -I have some real porcelain-filled monsters I dislike using). Education and philosophy books were full of words I simply hadn't come across before and I found it a real help without being silly big.

https://www.wob.com/en-gb/books/collins-uk/collins-english-dictionary/9780007321193?gclid=CjwKCAiA_omPBhBBEiwAcg7smbiSvxr4disZYSXtgXX7TbbzQ1G-Y6TeIFNANopZ__iv4gsUATy12BoC3wUQAvD_BwE

Later, when I was reading a lot 17-19th Century work the Shorter OED (The two volume one) was essential precisely for those long usage history entries to keep track of what an author from a period would have intended by a particular word. Two volumes is instant faff, and they are both big and heavy. Indispensable maybe, but inconvenient nonetheless.

In reply to Steve Crossley:

I have ordered The Chambers 11th Edition, from World of Books, £5.57 delivered. Cannot argue the price, they are not linked to Amazon (I think), and if its no good, I will go and have a schlep around some charity shops.

Just ordered another book at the Library.Arabia through the looking glass, Rock Queen is on the shelf, reading Europe by Jan Morris. Not to mention got Mistakes 9 out of 10 climbers make, on the go. And just subscribed to The New Statesman (never read it, just giving it a go) for 12 weeks.
Its a disease

Thanks for all the help.

In reply to Steve Crossley:

>and thought I had a large vocabulary, until I started reading Jan Morris. I find myself reaching for the Dictionary every other page.

You should try reading Colette in French, and see how far you get.

I have several fat dictionaries that mainly sit on my shelves, untouched.

Since I live on my laptop, I find it handier to use online dictionaries. In the past I subscribed to and used Collins, but now I use the Cambridge (CUP) Dictionary 

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/plus/

so far for free. You can use it as you would a paper dictionary, so it is not quite going down the rabbit hole of the internet, but it does have internet enhancements, such as word clouds of synonyms for any word you look up, that I have found useful.

Post edited at 17:17

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