A collegiate dictionary is an abridged dictionary, one that is sized to be conveniently held in the hand. A full dictionary is a large volume that attempts to list and define all words in the English language. Additional information, such as pronunciation and etymology (word history), is often included.

Definition of Dictionary

According to Princeton University's WordNet, a dictionary is "a lexicon, a reference book containing an alphabetical list of words with information about them." The words in a dictionary are usually arranged alphabetically and give definitions, pronunciations, and etymologies. Dictionaries may also contain synonyms, antonyms and idiomatic usages of words.

Definition of Collegiate Dictionary

A collegiate dictionary is an abridged dictionary, that is "of a size convenient to hold in the hand." This differentiates the collegiate or desk dictionary from the larger, more comprehensive, volumes found in most libraries.

Specialty Dictionaries

After the invention of the collegiate dictionary, publishers began to produce other specialty dictionaries. Some of these dictionaries are related to specific professions, such as medical and legal dictionaries, while others provide translations between two languages.