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How to Reference Webster's Dictionary in APA Format

by Stacey Tarini, Demand Media

    The American Psychological Association (APA) Style is most often used in the social and behavioral sciences to reference information. A reference list is included at the end of any paper or document with details on all of the references used. There are two ways to reference the Merriam-Webster dictionary using APA style, depending on whether you use the online or print version.

    Items you will need

    • Merriam-Webster dictionary

    Online Dictionary

    Step 1

    Write the name of the word in all lowercase letters, followed by a period. In parentheses, write “n.d.,” since there is no publication date for the online dictionary, and place a period after the parenthesis. If you are using this dictionary for multiple definitions, reference each word separately.

    Step 2

    Place the phrase “In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary” after “(n.d.).” and make sure to italicize all the words except for “In.” Determine what edition of the dictionary is being used, and write that information in parenthesis. For example, (11th ed.). This information is found in the FAQ section of the website.

    Step 3

    Take note of the URL for the word you referred to in the dictionary and write the Web address following the words “Retrieved from.” For example, Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/integrity. You do not include a period following the Web address.

    Step 4

    Review the reference listing to make sure you have included all the necessary information. The following is an example of an online dictionary reference listing: integrity. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary (11th ed.). Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/integrity

    Step 5

    Make sure that the first line of the reference listing is flush left and all additional lines are indented a half-inch from the left margin.

    Print Dictionary

    Step 1

    Write the title of the dictionary, followed by the edition you are using in parentheses. Italicize the name and include a period after the parenthesis. For example, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.).

    Step 2

    Place the year of publication in parentheses, followed by a period. This information may be on the dictionary’s cover or within the first few pages of the book.

    Step 3

    Locate the name of the publisher and where the book was published. This information is usually within the first few pages of the dictionary. Write the city and state where the dictionary was published, followed by a colon and the publisher’s name. For example, Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.

    Step 4

    Review the reference listing to make sure you have included all the necessary information. The following is an example of a print dictionary reference listing: Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.). (2005). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.

    Step 5

    Make sure that the first line of the reference listing is flush left and all additional lines are indented a half-inch from the left margin.

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    About the Author

    Stacey Tarini has spent more than a decade as a communications specialist, with a strong focus on writing and editing. She has written on a wide variety of topics for daily and weekly newspapers, as well as promotional content for a national nonprofit's marketing materials. Tarini holds a Bachelor of Science in business communication from Bentley University.

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