Which dictionary is the best one for English learners?

Byillt   Fri Nov 03, 2006 12:41 am GMT
Which dictionary do you think is the best one for learners of English as a second/foreign language? And why?
Cow   Fri Nov 03, 2006 4:52 am GMT
The Oxford English dictionary. It has all the words you'd ever want to know and more, and has a full etymology of them. Because it has rather technical definitions, it's perfect for learners of Romance languages, for example, because the technical terms are almost always derivatives from French, so it is more easily understandable.
Mary   Fri Nov 03, 2006 6:53 am GMT
You should buy a set of books: an English-to-[Your language] dictionary, an English-English dictionary (throw down the $$$ for this one - it's your most important investment), and a booklet on verb conjugations. For the English dictionary I recommend the Oxford English dictionary like Cow, or the Webster if American English is more important to your studies.

Incidently, I've found that the binding on my foreign dictionaries breaks *way* too quickly if I look up every little thing in them, considering their expense. For example, I bought a French/French Petit Robert that cost me 75 euros and two weeks to ship by Amazon France (not available in the States!) - it lasted six months. That's why I recommend that no matter what dictionary you choose to put on your bookshelf, you should make use of online resources for your everyday questions. They're also great for when you're doing writing assignments on your computer, where it's a hassle to hold dictionaries open on your lap and type at the same time.

If you speak French, Spanish, Italian, or (apparently) Portuguese, this site will find the English translations of single words and short phrases for you in a jiffy. There is also a forum where you can ask about word usage.

The online version of the Webster dictionary. Includes a thesaurus and pronounciations for each word.

Not all concepts are found in dictionaries. If you find a cultural reference you can't interpret, search for it on this online encyclopedia.

images.google.com and www.google.com
If you need to know what something looks like because a dictionary definition is not descriptive enough, try Google Images. You can also sometimes use Google to figure out if you are using the right preposition or word phrasing. Do anglophones say "perched in a tree" or "perched on a tree"? Let Google search results tell you by searching for each phrase (in quotes of course) and comparing the number of results found.

Most ultramodern slang terms can't be found in printed dictionaries. Try urban dictionary instead.
Byillt   Fri Nov 03, 2006 9:02 am GMT
A truly informative reply! Thank you very,very,very much, Mary! Thanks to Cow as well!