Stuck on a desert island with only one digital English dictionary.
Thread poster: Michael Beijer

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:43
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Sep 24, 2011

If you were stuck on a desert island with just one digital English dictionary, which would it be?

  • Cambridge?
  • Chamber's?
  • Collins?
  • Longman?
  • MacMillan?
  • Merriam-Webster?
  • Oxford?

    I am also interested in specific digital editions, CD-ROMs, etc. – not just in which is the best in terms of content.

    Michael

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  • Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
    Hungary
    Local time: 20:43
    Member (2006)
    English to Hungarian
    + ...
    On a desert island ... (OFF) Sep 24, 2011

    Michael Beijer wrote:

    If you were stuck on a desert island with just one digital English dictionary, which would it be?

  • Cambridge?
  • Chamber's?
  • Collins?
  • Longman?
  • MacMillan?
  • Merriam-Webster?
  • Oxford?

    I am also interested in specific digital editions, CD-ROMs, etc. – not just in which is the best in terms of content.

    Michael


  • Why would you need a dictionary on a desert island? I would rather snorkel using my body language to communicate with dolphins and sharks.


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    Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
    United States
    Local time: 11:43
    English to German
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    On a desert island (off topic) Sep 24, 2011

    Katalin Szilárd wrote:
    Why would you need a dictionary on a desert island? I would rather snorkel using my body language to communicate with dolphins and sharks.


    Remember Honey Rider, played by Ursula Andress in the James Bond movie "Dr. No"? She was a shell diver on the island Crab Key. Because she never went to any school, she educated herself by learning an English dictionary by heart. By the time she met James Bond, she had reached the letter L. Which means that she demonstrated enormous knowledge, provided that the words start with the letters A through L.


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    Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
    Hungary
    Local time: 20:43
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    Honey Rider ... (OFF) Sep 24, 2011

    Nicole Schnell wrote:

    Which means that she demonstrated enormous knowledge, provided that the words start with the letters A through L.


    If that was a science (for example biology) dictionary and she could use all of these words (from letter A to L) in the appropriate contexts I take a bow... lol But I don't think that James Bond was interested in this kind of talent of her.)


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    Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
    Spain
    Local time: 20:43
    Member (2005)
    English to Spanish
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    On paper Sep 24, 2011

    If stuck on a desert island, I would definitely go for the Oxford English Dictionary in the full version, i.e. a ton of paper. It would then have many uses: I would have plenty to read and learn, I could invent some little games and challenges so that I don't go bananas, I could burn the paper in case of need, and I would even build me a little shed in case no other material was available.

    A CD/DVD would have no practical use on a desert island, apart from breaking it into little pieces to try to fish some crab.


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    Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
    United Kingdom
    Local time: 19:43
    Member (2009)
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    Uhmm... Sep 24, 2011

    I was kind of hoping for slightly more technical information on actual digital dictionaries:)

    For example, I hear from people that the New Oxford Dictionary of English (NOPE) is supposed to be a very good English dictionary, which many prefer to the OED. Can someone enlighten me on this, perhaps stating why they think it is better. Also, I don't believe that the NOPE is available digitally...

    My favourite two at the moment are the OED (I have the Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition v. 4.0), and Merriam-Webster's Unabridged, (the latest edition).

    I am currently also checking out Longman and Collins.


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    LEXpert  Identity Verified
    United States
    Local time: 13:43
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    Croatian to English
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    N.O.P.E.? Sep 24, 2011

    Michael Beijer wrote:

    New Oxford Dictionary of English (NOPE) is supposed to be a very good English dictionary, which many prefer to the OED. Can someone enlighten me on this, perhaps stating why they think it is better. Also, I don't believe that the NOPE is available digitally...


    or NODE? Perhaps a Freudian slip, the result of subliminal messages from Bill Gates that you should just stick with the dictionary in Word?



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    Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
    Spain
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    OK! Sep 24, 2011

    Seriously? No fun then?

    Good. Personally I would not discard the Chambers Dictionary, which I believe exists now in electronic format as well. Check here.


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    Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
    United Kingdom
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    Oxford Dictionaries Online Sep 24, 2011

    I am considering trying out 'Oxford Dictionaries Online' (http://www.oup.com/online/subscribe/catalogue/odo/). £42 for an entire year sounds eminently reasonable.

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    Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
    United Kingdom
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    Where did you find the price £42 Sep 26, 2011

    Michael Beijer wrote:

    I am considering trying out 'Oxford Dictionaries Online' (http://www.oup.com/online/subscribe/catalogue/odo/). £42 for an entire year sounds eminently reasonable.



    The link you posted does not work but the price I saw on their website is over £200, what is curious it's cheaper to buy a CD than to buy 1 year subscription.


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    Giles Watson  Identity Verified
    Italy
    Local time: 20:43
    Italian to English
    Check out your local library Sep 26, 2011

    If you are one of the lucky people who live in the UK, check out your local library, many of which have subscriptions to Oxford Reference Online.

    All you need is your library card number to log in.


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    Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
    United Kingdom
    Local time: 19:43
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    @Stanislaw Sep 26, 2011

    Here it is again: http://www.oup.com/online/subscribe/catalogue/odo/

    That £200 is for the online OED.

    The ODO is really worth it. You also get access to many other things: namely, the thesaurus, tools for writers and editors (including the New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors (ODWE), New Hart’s Rules), and example sentences from their 2.3 billion word Oxford English Corpus, etc. All from one search window.

    This page explains the main differences between the ODO and the OED: http://www.oed.com/public/oedodo/the-oed-and-oxford-dictionaries


    I also just found that if you buy the Oxford Dictionary of English (hardback) for £39.99, you seem to get a 1-year subscription to Oxford's online version for free (although I can't figure out exactly which version you get, i.e., I assume the ODO):

    '12 months' access to Oxford's premium online dictionary and thesaurus service is included with this book, so you can get accurate definitions and synonyms wherever you are.'

    http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199571123.do?keyword=Oxford%20Dictionary%20of%20English&sortby=bestMatches


    [Edited at 2011-09-26 09:26 GMT]


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    Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
    Germany
    Local time: 20:43
    German to English
    print ODE incl. ODO for less money = easy decision Sep 26, 2011

    Hello,
    The Oxford Dictionary of English (I only have the second and not the newest edition) is a really wonderful print dictionary. I can directly compare it to my Collins e-dictionary and my Concise Oxford English Dictionary (2011, edition, print and CD-ROM): I consistently have to refer back to it for more depth, reliability, and sometimes even to find an entry at all. I also have free access to the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary Online through my library, but rarely use it because of its - for my work - excessive inclusiveness and depth. (Of course, this depends on what you are doing: if, for example, you are translating out of historical English, then this might be just the right thing.)

    For US English, I use Merriam-Webseter's Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition, print and CD-ROM). The unabridged Merriam-Webster is generally considered hopelessly out of date. I also have a Webster's New World College Dictionary, which I don't use.

    Sincerely,
    Michael


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