Webster’s Third New International Dictionary

Gove, Philip Babcock, ed. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged. Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1993.

Originally published in 1961 and updated with a supplement in 1993, this dictionary has some 450,000 entries. Good, if lacking in detail, etymologies make this a nice factual source for word origins. Available online as a subscription service.

The Third New International was quite controversial when it was published for being overly permissive in that it eliminated usage labels like “colloquial,” “erroneous,” and “incorrect,” and for innovative editorial practices that discomfited and outraged many. Webster’s Third is somewhat long in the tooth nowadays, but it remains a very useful dictionary.

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