The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Overview

The all-new Fourth Edition of the American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language offers more information about the language, in a more accessible format, than any other dictionary in its class. And its elegant, inviting design makes it the most handsome reference book on the market.

The Editors of the American Heritage® Dictionary have added over 10,000 new words and senses. From slang and popular culture to the latest medical, high-tech, and scientific terms, the Fourth ...

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Overview

The all-new Fourth Edition of the American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language offers more information about the language, in a more accessible format, than any other dictionary in its class. And its elegant, inviting design makes it the most handsome reference book on the market.

The Editors of the American Heritage® Dictionary have added over 10,000 new words and senses. From slang and popular culture to the latest medical, high-tech, and scientific terms, the Fourth Edition's vocabulary has been thoroughly updated to reflect our constantly changing language.

Fresh, full-color design. Over 4,000 full-color photographs, drawings, and maps enhance the American Heritage® Dictionary’s definitions and make browsing irresistible.

Trustworthy usage guidance. The American Heritage® Dictionary has distinguished itself for decades by offering clear and comprehensive usage guidance. Hundreds of new and updated Usage Notes, based on the results of surveys sent to the more than 200 scholars and writers who comprise our Usage Panel, help you make informed decisions about usage questions you face every day.

More in-depth note features than any other dictionary. Word Histories, Synonym Paragraphs, and Regional Notes explore the language in a breadth and depth unequaled by any other dictionary.

All-new Our Living Language Notes. A fascinating new series of Notes illustrates how social factors such as age and ethnicity influence the way our language is shaped by speakers from all walks of life.

Unrivaled biographies and geographies. The American Heritage® Dictionary has long been known for its expansive treatment of biographical and geographical entries. These informative capsule summaries have been thoroughly updated for the Fourth Edition.

Two unique Appendixes. Discover the hidden connections between words in the newly expanded Appendix of Indo-European Roots and in the all-new Appendix of Semitic Roots. The American Heritage® Dictionary offers you the most thorough and intriguing view of the history of words to be found in any dictionary.

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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: 9780395825174
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Edition description: Thumb Indexed
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 2112
  • Product dimensions: 8.92 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 2.58 (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 our publications are accurate and up-to-date.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2003

    The CD leaves a lot to be desired

    The dictionary itself is excellent, however, the CD-Rom is not fully functional.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2002

    the best single-volume dictionary for home use

    The previous review concerns only the CD version of this excellent dictionary. If you are looking for a one-volume American-oriented dictionary of the English language, the American Heritage 4th ed. is the best available. Its entries are reliable, interesting and up-to-date; its coverage is comprehensive;it has wonderful illustrations; and it is well-printed and well-bound. There is no better dictionary for home use on the market.

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