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Author Topic: Hard copy dictionaries; Chamber's, Collin's, Oxford, Cambridge, which one is bes  (Read 1381 times)

Offline Hiheels

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t?
Anyone with knowledge of more than one? Which one usually delivers the goods?

My Dad has asked for one for his impending birthday and I'd like to get a really good one, but don't want to tie him to an online one, which he also wouldn't be so keen on.

Offline P-Kasso2

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it really depends, I think, mostly on what your father will be using a dictionary for. If your Dad is an etymology buff he'll need an Oxford English Dictionary before all others because the OED's tracking of a word's origins and its first ever historical appearances in literature or in journalistic writing etc is absolutely second to none. You don't have to buy the greater multi-volume OED - the concise, single volume OED is a magnificent dictionary.

But, if your dad isn't a budding Sanskrit scholar and is more of a general dictionary user, or an avid crossword fiend, then for my money it has to be Chamber's.

I say that because I think that, for most people, and in most situations, a Chamber's dictionary fits the bill. It is not too academic or over-detailed (as the OED can sometimes be for some people). Chamber's is concise but never too skimpy on answers as some dictionaries can be.

Collin's is a very good dictionary but is a bit lightweight and, for this reason, I think it falls a very poor second to Chamber's in the respect of Chamber's being very thorough and accurate without going for overkill where definitions and word origins are concerned.

Of the Cambridge dictionary I cannot comment because I have never needed to refer to it because I turn to the OED instead.

If your Dad is a keen Scrabble nut, then I think that Antonymous is the best person to answer the question of which dictionary a Scrabble fanatic would prefer when it comes to which dictionary to get as a birthday present.
"I live in hope"

Offline Hiheels

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 Gd_pst Cheers, P-K, very handy.
He's recently got into those puzzles where you're given X number of letters and have to find all the words possible to be made. That is, of course, to a degree Scrabble-y, but it's looking like Chambers' is the front runner.

Offline P-Kasso2

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Gd_pst Cheers, P-K, very handy.
He's recently got into those puzzles where you're given X number of letters and have to find all the words possible to be made. That is, of course, to a degree Scrabble-y, but it's looking like Chambers' is the front runner.

In that case, you can save yourself a few bob and just give your scrabbly dad this handy little freebie weblink...

http://new.wordsmith.org/anagram/anagram.cgi?anagram=dispondent&t=1000&a=n

All he has to do then is type in whatever letters he's got and the site's anagram machine will immediately trot out columns of new words made up of those letters. That is, of course, if your dad is ok with computers. If he's not, you could always give him a nice beginners course for silver surfers and a gift-wrapped iPad.
"I live in hope"

Offline Hiheels

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A thousand times, no!!
Not only can I not afford a ruddy iPad (he does already have a laptop), where's the skill that will keep his 86 year old and currently very sharp mind in that same condition just by being spoon fed all the answers?!
No, no, no, no and, indeed, no.

Offline P-Kasso2

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A thousand times, no!!
Not only can I not afford a ruddy iPad (he does already have a laptop), where's the skill that will keep his 86 year old and currently very sharp mind in that same condition just by being spoon fed all the answers?!
No, no, no, no and, indeed, no.

Tough love, eh? Your da is lucky to have such a fine daughter.
"I live in hope"

Offline Hiheels

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He's the one who gave me the skills to think for myself, so I'm returning the favour  :D

Offline antonymous

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it really depends, I think, mostly on what your father will be using a dictionary for. If your Dad is an etymology buff he'll need an Oxford English Dictionary before all others because the OED's tracking of a word's origins and its first ever historical appearances in literature or in journalistic writing etc is absolutely second to none. You don't have to buy the greater multi-volume OED - the concise, single volume OED is a magnificent dictionary.

But, if your dad isn't a budding Sanskrit scholar and is more of a general dictionary user, or an avid crossword fiend, then for my money it has to be Chamber's.

I say that because I think that, for most people, and in most situations, a Chamber's dictionary fits the bill. It is not too academic or over-detailed (as the OED can sometimes be for some people). Chamber's is concise but never too skimpy on answers as some dictionaries can be.

Collin's is a very good dictionary but is a bit lightweight and, for this reason, I think it falls a very poor second to Chamber's in the respect of Chamber's being very thorough and accurate without going for overkill where definitions and word origins are concerned.

Of the Cambridge dictionary I cannot comment because I have never needed to refer to it because I turn to the OED instead.

If your Dad is a keen Scrabble nut, then I think that Antonymous is the best person to answer the question of which dictionary a Scrabble fanatic would prefer when it comes to which dictionary to get as a birthday present.

Hi folks, just a quicky on this topic. Chambers was the bible for serious UK Scrabblers for many years, and  i  still possess my battered copy of it, however in the USA they used Websters I believe, but for international competitions various dictionaries were cobbled together to arrive at 'Official Scrabble Word  lists'. which are published by Collins. They are simply alphabetical lists without any text.(there are several variations of these too, eg SOWPODS (MAINLY UK)    AND TWL (MAINLY USA).

Outside of competitive scrabble the basic rule of the game is that participants should agree before playing which dictionary is to be used as a reference.
Happy valentines day y'all. wve
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