Professor Barbara Whitener
16 August 2018
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary and The Oxford English Dictionary: What’s The Difference?
You may think that all dictionaries are the same and have the same exact information in them. Well, think again! When we take The Merriam-Webster Dictionary and The Oxford English Dictionary are compare the two there are many differences.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary is a dictionary with some quotations of the British English vocabulary where the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is a British dictionary which contains the historical record of each word in it. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary is better used if you are using standard American English where the Oxford English Dictionary Is better used for standard British English.
Another difference between the Merriam-Webster Dictionary doesn’t contain as much information as the Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford is a historical dictionary and does not take words out which makes it longer than the Merriam dictionary. Where Oxford dictionary keeps every word that has ever been added to it, Merriam will take a word out of the dictionary if the word does not meet three criteria which are: meaningful, sustained, and widespread use.
There are many differences between the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and The Oxford but the last thing I will talk about is the way they both define words. Although they are both dictionaries the definitions are not the same. For example, Oxford defines Word as A single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or sometimes alone) to form a sentence and typically shown with space on either side when written or printed. Where Merrium defines Word as A speech sound or series of speech sounds that symbolizes and communicates a meaning usually without being divisible into smaller units capable of independent use. As you can see, both definitions are correct but defined differently.
In conclusion, you now know that every dictionary is not the same. Even though they all define words, they are different from the way that they define words to the number of words they have in them.