How to Cite a Dictionary in APA

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Dictionaries can provide definitions, synonyms, and a variety of important information. This guide will show you how to create citations for a dictionary following APA 7th edition guidelines.

Guide overview

 


Citing an online dictionary (whole dictionary)

Many online dictionaries do not have a published date or an indicated individual author. As such, here’s what you to do:

  • If no individual author is indicated, the article/webpage publisher is both the author and publisher.
  • Cite the organization as the author and leave out the publisher information.
  • Place “n.d.” for “no date” where publication information usually goes.
  • Include a “Retrieved date” since there is no published date and the information may change over time.

Online dictionary reference page structure:

Organization Name. (n.d.). Dictionary or Website Name. Retrieved Month Day, Year, from URL

Dictionary reference page example:

Oxford University Press. (n.d.). Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. Retrieved October 22, 2020, from https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/

In-text citation structure & example:

(Organization Name, n.d.)

(Oxford University Press, n.d.)

 


Citing an online dictionary entry (single word)

  • Many online dictionaries do not have a published date or an indicated individual author. As such, the article/webpage publisher is both the author and publisher. List the organization as the author and leave out the publisher information.
  • Place “n.d.” for “no date” where publication information usually goes.
  • Include a “Retrieved date” since there is no published date and the information may change over time.

Online dictionary citation structure:

Organization Name. (Date OR n.d.). Defined word. In Website Title. Retrieved Month Day, Year, from URL

Dictionary citation example:

Here is how you would cite the entry for “food” from an online dictionary:

Oxford University Press. (n.d.). Food. In Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. Retrieved October 22, 2020, from https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/us/definition/english/food?q=food

In-text citation structure & example:

(Organization Name, n.d.)

(Oxford University Press, n.d.)

 


If an organization is both the author and publisher, cite the organization as the author and leave out the publisher information.

Print dictionary reference page structure & example:

Author or editor Surname, F. M. (Year published). Dictionary name (edition if applicable). Publisher Name.

Editors of Merriam-Webster (Ed.). (2013). Webster’s all-in-one dictionary & thesaurus (2nd ed.). Federal Street Press.

Reference page citation if an organization is both the author and publisher:

Organization Name. (Year published). Dictionary name (edition if applicable).

Merriam-Webster, Inc. (2019). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary (11th ed.).

In-text citation structure & example:

(Author or Organization Name, Year)

(Editors of Merriam Webster, 2013)

(Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2019)


Citing a print dictionary entry (single word)

Print dictionary reference page structures & examples:

Author or editor Surname, F. M. (Year published). Defined word. In Dictionary name (edition if applicable, p. page number). Publisher Name.

Organization Name if author and publisher. (Year published). Defined word. In Dictionary name (edition if applicable, p. page number).

Editors of Merriam-Webster (Ed.). (2013). Abide. In Webster’s all-in-one dictionary & thesaurus (2nd ed., p. 2). Federal Street Press.

Merriam-Webster, Inc. (2019). Abrogate. In Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary (11th ed., p. 4).

In-text citation structure & example:

(Author or Organization Name, Year)

(Editors of Merriam Webster, 2013)

(Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2019)

 


 

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