The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition / Edition 4

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Overview

This newly updated edition of America’s favorite dictionary features revised biographical and geographical entries as well as up-to-date charts and tables for topics such as world currencies and chemical elements. Among the 500 entries new to this update are Amber Alert, blogosphere, gravitino, halo effect, hawala, lycopene, malware, micropolis, proteome, Qi Gong, SARS, shout-out, speed dating, sudoku, Texas hold’em, text message, and wiki.

The renowned American Heritage® Usage Panel, a group of more than 200 distinguished writers, scholars, and scientists, offers advice on problems of grammar and style; engaging notes explain word histories and clarify differences among synonyms; thousands of quotations and example sentences show words in context; and elegant definitions are enhanced by 4,000 full-color photographs, drawings, and maps, making this one of the most readable dictionaries available anywhere.

This dictionary can also be purchased with a fully loadable Windows® / Mac® CD-ROM that contains the entire text of the updated Fourth Edition, 68,000 audio pronunciations, 1,000 full-color photographs and illustrations, and a college-level thesaurus with more than 260,000 synonyms. The CD-ROM has spell-check capability and can be used in conjunction with any Microsoft® Office application to get definitions at the click of a mouse.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
As timely as it is timeless, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language offers the most information about our language in the most accessible style and the most inviting design. The fourth edition combines exacting linguistic scholarship with creative innovations in the art of dictionary making. Whether it is the full-color illustration program, the usage advice of more than 200 experts -- including John Kenneth Galbraith, Rita Dove, Susan Sontag, Joan Didion, and Calvin Trillin -- or the varied and extensive notes, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language gives you the resources you need to use the English language with accuracy and grace. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language is once again setting the standard in dictionary making in both print and electronic format. It's no wonder it is called an American classic.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Since its 1969 first edition, the American Heritage has battled Webster's for desk, library and classroom space. Against its older rival, American Heritage boasts better looks, more frequent updates and a 200-member Usage Panel with verbal all-stars like novelists Alice Munro and Sherman Alexie. The third edition of the American Heritage appeared only in 1992; what's new about this edition? For one thing, 10,000 more words, frequently colloquial ones or new coinages; all dictionaries delete when they add, but here additions seem to outnumber cuts. Another new feature is color: with polychromatic photographs down broad margins, and entry words in greenish-black, the fourth edition looks like the well-dressed offspring of an older reference book and a Web site--an appearance likely to please younger users. The fourth does well with '90s cultural terms--"permatemp" and "McJob," "techno" and "indie" (rock). It's good with compounds, especially new ones--"celestial longitude," "jewel box" (for CDs), "crack baby," "poetry slam." Coverage of slang has also improved: the third made "dick" "a guy" and a male organ; the fourth gives the noun as an insult and five senses for "dick" as a verb. Occasional boxes offer long paragraphs on (for example) when and where "party" can mean "person," why the Usage Panel hates "hopefully," and the evolution of the word "circus." As in the third, a substantial appendix guides readers through Indo-European roots. American Heritage's examples and etymologies still can't compare to the Oxford English Dictionary--nor should they. Instead, the volume strikes a commendable, practical balance between depth of coverage and ease of use. (The CD-ROM contains all the text of the bound book, with less art, but also the words retired from the third edition; it can be purchased separately for $24.95.) (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
The new American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language updates the third edition (1992) with 10,000 new words and senses and 4000 illustrations (many now in color) in the spacious outer margins. New words include "anime," "carjacking," "DVD," "glass ceiling," and "mommy track." Many abbreviations now familiar in the online world, such as "BTW" (by the way) and "LOL" (laughing out loud), are also defined. Each entry contains the headword, pronunciation, part of speech, and definition. Over 700 words have synonym notes, over 400 words have usage notes, 200-plus words have word history notes, and more than 100 words have regional notes. Pronunciation guides are easily consulted since they are printed on the recto of every page. Definitions are clearly written. The usage notes are interesting but designed to be mini-critical lessons; they do not give quick and easy rules about usage. Regional notes also provide interesting information and background about specific words, but overall there are few of them. If you are looking for a reference work that provides histories and extensive information about usage, this is not the appropriate resource; Bryan A. Garner's A Dictionary of Modern American Usage (LJ 10/15/98) is an excellent guide to usage, and the Oxford English Dictionary remains the standard for the history of the English language. However, for libraries in need of a new English-language dictionary, with new words, that is clearly written and easy to use, this new edition is an excellent choice. Recommended for all libraries. (CD-ROM not seen.)--Cynthia A. Johnson, Barnard Coll. Lib., New York Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618701728
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/12/2006
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 2112
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 2.06 (d)

Meet the Author

The Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries are a team of professional lexicographers with advanced degrees in various scholarly fields. The editors familiarize themselves with the vocabulary in specific subject areas, collect materials on new developments and usage, and work with expert consultants to ensure that the content of our publications is as accurate and as up-to-date as possible.

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2009

    Not as good as the 2nd edition

    Purchased the 4th edition to replace an old 2nd edition. Found it just was not as well layed out as the 2nd. Granted there were a lot of up dates in both words and definitons but it greatly lacked in other areas. The second edition include complete sections on weights and scales, geography, etc. These are no longer included in the 4th edition.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    My Favorite 21st Century Dictionary

    There are a few great dictionaries available for American English. For me the most outstanding of all are the American Heritage series. The fourth edition of "The American Heritage Dictinary of the English Language" continues their tradition of apt and illuminating definitions--the heart of any dictionary--with gorgeous color illustrations of words, places and people in the wide margins. There is an extensive and useful introduction, with articles on the basics of the English language and another on regional differences in American English. The pronunciation guide is the clearest of any dictionary. The cover does not give the number of entries, only that there are 10,000 new words since the last edition. There are 2074 pages, and a chart of the development of Indo-European languages inside the back cover. This is a lot of book for $60. For only
    $15 more, you can get a CD-ROM to put this pearl of great worth on your PC. The only change I would make is the addition of a picture of Charles Darwin on page 462 beneath the photo of Clarence Darrow.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    SO BIG

    I agonized over which big dictionary to purchase. I have to say, I am very happy with my choice. The tab set up along the edge is easy to use, and there are pretty pictures as well, if you're into that sort of thing in a dictionary. There are a lot of supplementary resources contained within, along with a number of additional tidbits of information scattered throughout the volume. Obviously, this is the version that I keep at home at my desk, being too large to drag back and forth to school. The small paperback version of this edition is a perfect companion piece for that purpose, though.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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