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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best single-volume dictionary going
Nota Bene: it's "Merriam-Webster" and NOT just "Webster's". The latter is a very inferior knock-off.
I also own the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, thinking that if I went high-brow it would make me a better person. The OED is actually a pretty good dictionary (unlike the awful Webster's), but it comes in two, large volumes which makes it impractical as an easy...
Published on Feb. 6 2004 by GEORGE R. FISHER

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still much to be desired
Being a user of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary for about 20 years, I am disappointed with this new edition. To be more specific, I am disappointed with the free CD-ROM came with the dictionary.
Using dictionaries for me means sitting in front of a PC monitor with fingers on keyboard. When I can find the definitions of words in less than a second, why...
Published on Sept. 13 2003 by George Chen


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best single-volume dictionary going, Feb. 6 2004
By 
GEORGE R. FISHER (Boston MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (Hardcover)
Nota Bene: it's "Merriam-Webster" and NOT just "Webster's". The latter is a very inferior knock-off.
I also own the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, thinking that if I went high-brow it would make me a better person. The OED is actually a pretty good dictionary (unlike the awful Webster's), but it comes in two, large volumes which makes it impractical as an easy reference when reading on the couch; plus, I haven't run across any definition that I needed that was done better for the purpose of quick understanding than Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary does it. (I spent some time looking in both, believe it or not).
In addition, the computer software that comes with the 11th edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary is really good; very helpful when using Word ... highlight a word and right-click to bring up the definition.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb reference tool, July 7 2004
By 
audrey (white mtns) - See all my reviews
This is a fine dictionary. It even smells good. Too hefty to be portable, it is nevertheless a perfect desk dictionary, starting with a seventeen-page explanatory chart and notes, an essay on the English language, and a guide to pronunciation. te volume continues with excellent definitions that are sometimes accompanied by b&w line drawings, and finishes with sections on foreign words & phrases, biographical names, geographical names, signs & symbols in various fields of endeavo, punctuation, capitals & italics, documenting sources, forms of address and an index. In addition there is a Win/Mac CD-ROM disk of the dictionary that features a number of search options.
This is the most comprehensive collegiate dictionary to date, with many new entries since 1996's tenth edition, and it is well organized wih a nice clean font (though it may be a bit troublesome for those who are far-sighted). It always amazes me that we can purchase so much information so inexpensively. This is a terrific resource -- it's time to update your dictionary!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the price for the CD-ROM alone, July 10 2003
This review is from: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (Hardcover)
Unlike prescriptive dictionaries such as the American Heritage Dictionary, which rely on self-appointed panels of "experts" to decide what correct usage should be, descriptive dictionaries such as this and Merriam-Webster's Third International try to keep pace with how the language is actually used by speakers. This may explain why the Webster's Collegiate dictionaries have been the standard reference in the American publishing industry for a long time.
This is easily the best dictionary of its class, period. It has an extraordinarily large number of entries and its definitions are concise and easy to understand. The only shortcoming is that there are few example sentences, but this is a necessary tradeoff to keep the size under control. For sheer richness of information it doesn't compare to the New Shorter OED, for example, but then again you can't toss the NSOED into your backpack and take it to school with you. This book is light and compact.
But the thing that really sets this dictionary apart is the CD-ROM. You can search for words using up to 15 different operations, including "rhymes with," "is a cryptogram of," "homophones are," "etymology includes," etc. You can use AND and OR operators to combine the various operations. These search functions are a tremendous asset to anybody who works with words, particularly writers, poets, and songwriters.
And did I mention that you get a free one-year subscription to their online dictionary with your purchase?
This package is a tremendous value for the money and really belongs in every home and office. And I have no doubt that Webster's 11 will continue to be the gold standard in the publishing industry for the foreseeable future.<I> --This text refers to an edition which conatins a CD-ROM. Not all editions of this item contain a CD. Please check the item desription for further information.--</I>
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The New Standard for American Dictionaries, June 16 2004
By 
Amir Aharoni (Israel) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (Hardcover)
This edition of the M-W's Collegiate Dictionary sets a completely new high standard for American dictionaries and in fact -- for any reference book anywhere. This dictionary is everything that a good reference book should be -- self-contained, complete, easy-to-use, extremely well printed, and perfectly consistent. The abbreviations are not overused, the definitions are clear and exhaustive. Inflected forms and alternate spellings are easy to locate and identify. The usage and synonyms notes are of an enormous value for anyone who reads or writes English, and for me it clarified many meanings and different usages (i am not a native English speaker). Another great thing is that the editors treated the etimologies with due respect, so even though this dictionary is supposed to be "abridged", it is very complete. And the quality of printing is so wonderful, that i enjoy reading this dictionary just for fun.
Although it is called "Collegiate" it is useful to any person of any age and background, not just for college students. Needless to say, it never disappoints when i'm looking for words.
To put it short -- i don't have enough words of praise for this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book; bad CD, Jan. 12 2004
By 
pclare (her editing desk) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (Hardcover)
This dictionary is indispensable to anyone in the book publishing industry, but I mourn the loss of the prior CD's format and functionality. I must use this reference daily as a copy editor, and because the speed of a CD search is crucial, I'm stuck with the new version.
The format/layout is way too cumbersome, and offers no viewing options other than color and text size. I was able to shrink the Web10 program into a 3x4 inch box that resided permanently on my computer screen alongside a Google window and a style sheet document window. The new program takes up half my desktop at its smallest usable size.
The entries were much clearer in the old version, as well. Syllables used to be notated with dots, which could not be mistaken for hyphens. They are now indicated by what looks like hyphens, whereas hyphens look like en dashes. When the #1 reason you're looking words up is to verify things like hyphenated spellings, this is a big deal.
I would have liked some sort of F5=clear key, too, since the extra steps needed to enter a new word are redundant and irritating. It used to be that as soon as I hit enter, the entry was already highlighted and ready for the next entry, no extra steps or keystrokes needed. And depending on how I proceeded through the first entry, only sometimes am I able to scroll down a word list; often the list just stops or duplicates the main entry. If I want to look for variations I have to hit clear or backspace out of the word, then start over again.
Also gone is the tables list. I think the tables are still there, but you have to know that and look up a word that would then offer you the table. I learned a lot from those tables in the Web10 edition simply because curiosity led me to view them from the menu.
That this is the consummate dictionary is undisputed, and for students or anyone else who's using it as an occasional lookup tool it's unbeatable. If you're using it every day, all day, however, its functionality will fight you. I was looking forward to that day that when I could officially transform rest room into restroom, baby-sitter into babysitter, and E-mail into e-mail. Now that it's arrived, I wish I could just find a list of the changes so that I could check that list exclusively, then use my Web10 CD for the rest until Web12 comes up with a design that works for the folks who use it the most.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still much to be desired, Sept. 13 2003
This review is from: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (Hardcover)
Being a user of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary for about 20 years, I am disappointed with this new edition. To be more specific, I am disappointed with the free CD-ROM came with the dictionary.
Using dictionaries for me means sitting in front of a PC monitor with fingers on keyboard. When I can find the definitions of words in less than a second, why should I waste 20 to 30 seconds in turning the pages. Accordingly, my review here focuses more on the interface of the CD-ROM dictionary than on the contents itself.
In my PC, I installed Collins Cobuild ver 3.1, Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English 4th Edition, Macmillan English Dictionary, ver 1.1, Cambridge International Dictionary of English ver 1.03, The New Penguin English Dictionary 2001, The American Heritage Dictionary 2000, Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary ver 3.0, Bookshelf 98, and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary & Thesaurus, Deluxe Audio Edition ver 2.5. On another hard disk, I had an older Oxford English Dictionary on the legacy Windows NT 4.0. I have virtually all CD-ROM dictionaries available in the world. For this reason, I would say MW11 CD-ROM still has much to be desired.
There had been the MW Deluxe Audio Edition ver 2.5 installed in my PC. When I tried to install the free CD came with MW11, I was requested to remove the ver 2.5. Unfortunately, the ver 3.0 free CD is a dumb one, which ironically expelled the deluxe edition. I later tried this on another hard disk, on which ver 2.5 could be installed after ver 3.0 had been installed. Both versions could coexist harmonically. With multi-version CD-ROM dictionaries running in my PC, I can easily learn that the wonderful features with this MW11 CD-ROM mentioned by other reviewers were just old ones in most of the others.
MW might never know how fancy and user-friendly the other CD-ROM dictionaries are, how colorful the others are, and how fast the others are running. MW might never know corpus integration is now a trend in making CD-ROM dictionaries. MW might never know audio function is now a must for CD-ROM dictionaries. The free CD-ROMs came with LDOCE, MED, and RHWUD have wonderful audio function. LDOCE and MED even contain both British and American accents.
Some other awkward designs worth mentioning here are that for continuous looking up in this CD-ROM, one has to use mouse to highlight the searching box prior to a new search, which is very annoying when you are looking up a lot of words. On Cobuild, CIDE, MED, etc, you just key in work, then press Enter. Repeating this sequence, the definitions were retrieved one after one, and the searches keep going without a single move of the mouse.
For the same word, you have to toggle between dictionary and thesaurus, followed by a click on Search button to retrieve the contents in either reference. On Bookshelf 98, and Cobuild one search can retrieve all the information in each reference.
Now you see how premature the MW11 free CD-ROM is. The unabridged Webster's Third New International Dictionary share the same interface with the collegiate edition, and has been challenged by users for years. There is no need to argue about how far MW is lagging behind its competitors. MW had better thoroughly investigate the market status and redraft its roadmap. Sidney Landau has stated in his book Dictionaries, The Art and Craft of Lexicography, 2nd Edition:
Unabridged dictionaries in print will largely become a thing of the past; if produced at all in print form, they will be limited editions for collectors and libraries. Desk dictionaries, which include the American college dictionaries, will remain attractive commodities in print, as will shorter versions, but will suffer from increased competition from electronic alternatives produced by the print publishers themselves or by others whom they license.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Significantly Improved Classic, Aug. 4 2003
By 
Daniel L Pratt (USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (Hardcover)
This dictionary, MW11 for short, may be the first to list bubkes, coscenarist, or MEGO. Entries now appear in a sans-serif font, basically an improvement, though the abbreviation for Illinois looks absurd.
The cover claims 10,000 new words and meanings, including long ball, peloton, rabbit-eared bandicoot (who would seek that under r rather than b?), dance card, megapixel, qi, ki. So what is missing from the previous edition, MW10? An informal survey of a half dozen pages shows that practically nothing of value is gone (lonelily, pein, Daoist are deleted). Changes include a few new senses, illustrative quotes, revised definitions, and antedatings. The entry for -er now shows beautifuller with double l, in concord with the entry for -ful. There are about 70 more pages; MW10 had only about 5 more than MW9.
The total number of entries should be greeted with skepticism. There are about a thousand undefined entries in a list of "non-" words, more than a thousand in the un- list, and several thousand more in sixteen additional lists. If it occurs to you to seek coscenarist in the co- list, these lists might be of use. There are also a great many highly technical terms, such as ethylenediaminetetraacetate(s); writings that might contain these are apt to contain quite a few terms not found in this or any similar dictionary. Nonetheless, MW11 looks pretty good after a comparison of a few random pages of this dictionary with the corresponding parts of four similarly-priced dictionaries. At least two competitors have such entries as blank endorsement, blankety-blank, terra alba, or blague, but most or all omit such MW11 entries as: term of art, blanket chest, or the adjective terminate. Recently I found the word Atropos in a 1950 New-Zealand/British novel; it's not in MW11 (except in atropine's etymology), but was found in the competitors; on the other hand, only MW11 offers an explanation of what people who quirk this or that in a (usually) British novel are doing.
Definitions are sometimes a little unclear. The 85-word definition for gyroscope is apt to set your head spinning, and you may need to reread it to determine a gyroscope's purpose (I'm not sure it says). There's a sensible usage note for "hopefully", but MW11's appeal to "disjuncts" is less likely to persuade than the competitors' references to "sentence adverbs" or something similar. Many more illustrative examples would help.
One appendix contains foreign words and phrases; it's unclear why "a la mode" or Weltschmerz are in the main listing with "a la page" or Weltbild in the appendix. Other appendices list biographic and geographic entries, so, confronted with an unfamiliar proper noun, you may be unsure where to look. Gretna Green, is that biographical or geographical? (Neither, but MW11 has it nonetheless.) These appendices suit the publisher, since during MW11's life there will be new censuses that affect the geographic entries and deaths, elections, awards, etc., that affect the biographic entries, and Merriam can reset the relatively few pages of the appendices more easily than many pages of the main listing. Nonetheless, it is inconvenient for the user.
The final page contains the addresses for the Language Research Service. The introduction to MW10 informed us that there is no evidence for the form "merer", so years ago I sent the LRS their first citation; it happens that OED provided another, and an Internet search for "even merer" provides four more, but MW11's introduction still claims that there is no evidence for it. LRS is better at providing information; it gave me a Robert Frost citation to accompany my grandaunt's expression "the cat wanted the guest to make of her".
A nice feature is the date of earliest known appearance for each word. MW11 extends this to words like "jehu" that come from a proper name (less clear is why Jehu is in the main listing rather than the biographical appendix), though possibly the date applies to Jehu rather than jehu. Similarly, the date for clueless applies to its literal use, not to the modern idiomatic use whose date might interest you. Definitions are given in date order, so you can usually see how meanings develop over time. Most unfamiliar words have only a single definition, or the unfamiliar meaning you seek may be the oldest, so this is a win-win feature for the user.
The dictionary comes with a wonderful CD (optional at higher price), with which many objections disappear. It is much harder to find coscenarist, bo, ked, or Gretna Green with the print edition than with the CD, which incidentally expands abbreviations. You can locate all entries having a usage note containing the word Scottish. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be an easy way to search for all occurrences of Scottish in definitions, etymologies, and usage notes simultaneously, though there is a cumbersome way to do this with an advanced search. It seems pronunciations aren't searchable beyond rhymes and homophones, so for example you cannot find all words with the rare sound that ends "smooth", or all pronunciations marked with the obelus (division sign) that indicates controversy. (Merriam is invited to add the obelus to the first pronunciation of bruschetta, which deviates from the Italian.) With the CD you can also find the other 27-letter single-word entry, the longest word(s) with no repeated letter, the anagrams of abcdeflos or Minnesota, or all words whose earliest known appearance falls in a particular year (the most recent appears to be 2000, for tanga, the Tajiki "cent"); if solving crosswords, you can find words of the form ?p??m?.
Certainly I would not recommend buying a college dictionary without a CD version. Beyond that it is hard to choose, if you can afford just one. My inclination is that if you are involved in scientific or technical pursuits, this is probably the right one. Otherwise, you may be better off with one of the competitors. I don't recommend owning precisely two dictionaries however; you will need a third as a tiebreak.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, May 26 2004
By 
B. Viberg "Alex Rodriguez" (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (Hardcover)
At first glance the eleventh edition does not differ much from the tenth (CH, Oct'93): definitions and derivations are nearly identical to those in the tenth. However, this is no mindless reissue, and where new information has surfaced, it is included. The 225,000 headwords include 10,000 new words and meanings, and the volume includes 40,000 usage examples. The considerable encyclopedic elements include 12,000 geographical and 6,000 biographical names, as well as brief sections of foreign words and phrases, signs and symbols, and a handbook of style. Abbreviations and symbols for chemical elements, a separate section in the previous edition, are alphabetized with the main entries. This is a serious dictionary, not unabridged but very serviceable for both student and scholar. Unfortunately the format is crowded and the font uncomfortably small. The price is favorable, however, especially since the volume includes a CD-ROM of the contents and also offers a one-year free subscription to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Web site.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nice updating for the standard shorter American dictionary, Aug. 23 2003
By 
Robert Moore (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (Hardcover)
For several decades now, THE MERRIAM-WEBSTER'S COLLEGIATE DICTIONARY has served as the standard American English dictionary. I have done a good deal of copyediting over the years, and every publisher I have worked with has specified this dictionary (along with the Webster's Unabridged) as the standard governoring the way that American English words are spells and defined. Although one can feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of dictionaries in the reference section of any good bookstore, this volume is as close to authoritative as we have in the United States. One might have a preference for another, but this is the only one that enjoys widespread authoritative acceptance.
The dust jacket explains the ways that the new 11th edition has been expanded, but personally, while I am quite certain that it has been expanded, I have not noticed a great deal of difference from the 10th edition. It may be definitive and improved, but most of the improvements will be difficult for anyone to detect. The new CD-ROM included with it, however, is a vast improvement on the previous software that was developed based on the 10th edition. When the 10th edition first came out, CD software was not widely available. A CD version of the dictionary did eventually come out, but it was somewhat rudimentary. The new CD-ROM, however, is a huge improvement. For instance, when looking up any word, a column will display a number of words that approximate the word that your are attempting to look up. If you can merely approximate the spelling, you can frequently find the correct word. Furthermore, by double clicking on any word in the online dictionary, you will pull up the listing for that word. The CD-ROM also has a link to the Internet.
Let's face it. Buying dictionaries for most people is about as exciting as having one's oil changed. But like oil changes, dictionaries are essential. For the foreseeable future, this one is going to remain the definitive American English dictionary.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough, well-written, with a good CD version, Aug. 3 2003
By 
Mike Christie (Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (Hardcover)
This is a very high quality collegiate dictionary. I am a member of a word puzzle organization ... and this is our standard reference, along with the unabridged version, "Webster's Third New International Dictionary". Many very obscure words show up in puzzles, but it is relatively rare I find I have to go to the unabridged dictionary to look them up.
In addition to being thorough (with excellent sections such as biography, geographical names, and foreign words and phrases (such as "en plein jour" or "inshallah") it includes compressed but informative etymological data. For example, the entry on "spacious" has this - ME, fr. AF spacioux, fr. L spatiosus, fr. spatium: space, room (14c)"; in a little over a single line you get a long lineage; though I should mention that this has been slightly corrected since the tenth edition of this dictionary. You may have to learn some of the abbreviations (Middle English, Anglo-French, 14th century) but I found them generally intuitive and didn't need to look them up much at all.
In addition, there are excellent usage paragraphs scattered throughout. These are of two types. One type compares the usage of different words with very similar meanings. For example, the entry on "satiate" provides a usage paragraph that compares "satiate", "sate", "surfeit", "cloy", "pall", "glut" and "gorge", identifying the precise differences of usage between them. The paragraph is cross-referenced at each of the other six words, so you don't have to just stumble across satiate to find it.
The other kind of usage paragraph discusses correctness. A good example is "hopefully", which in its sense "I hope that" is controversial. The dictionary asserts the validity of this controversial use, which is sure to annoy some purists, but it does acknowledge the debate and cite grammatical arguments for its position.
There are quite a few new words (my favourite is "dead-cat bounce") and edits to all sections. The only major change, though, is that the abbreviations section has been eliminated; abbreviations are now included in the main body of the dictionary.
The dictionary is available online at m-w.com, and I strongly recommend you take a look at it. There is a CD-ROM for sale too, which is worth getting as it adds some fancy search features, though if you're like me you'll want the paper version to keep by the bed. Note that if you have the unabridged MW CD too (the third edition of their New International Dictionary) then the same interface allows you to choose which dictionary to search -- a very nice feature. Purchase of the dictionary also gives you a complimentary year's subscription to the m-w website, which is worth having -- though be warned that it will automatically renew in a year for $ unless you choose to auto-cancel.<I> --This text refers to an edition which conatins a CD-ROM. Not all editions of this item contain a CD. Please check the item desription for further information.--</I>
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Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition by Inc. Merriam-Webster (Hardcover - Jan. 1 2003)
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