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  1. #1
    thedaffodils's Avatar
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    Question lexicon vs. dictionary

    Hello! Could someone please tell me what the different between "lexicon" and "dictionary" in the defintion 1 of Merrian-Master Dictionary is. Thanks!

    eg. I bought an English-Chinese __ from a bookstore.

    (1) lexicon; (2) dictionary


    (Comment: I think both (1) and (2) are grammatically correct. But what will you think of the book if I use the different word?)

    lexicon

    1 : a book containing an alphabetical arrangement of the words in a language and their definitions : DICTIONARY

    2 a : the vocabulary of a language, an individual speaker or group of speakers, or a subject b : the total stock of morphemes in a language
    3 : REPERTOIRE, INVENTORY
    Last edited by thedaffodils; 29-Oct-2008 at 14:22. Reason: typo

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: lexicon vs. dictionary

    They are synonymous. Lexicon is based on Greek [lexis = word] and Dictionary on Latin [dictio = word].

  3. #3
    thedaffodils's Avatar
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    Default Re: lexicon vs. dictionary

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    They are synonymous. Lexicon is based on Greek [lexis = word] and Dictionary on Latin [dictio = word].
    Hello Anglika,

    Thank you for your help.

  4. #4
    SUDHKAMP's Avatar
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    Default Re: lexicon vs. dictionary

    Quote Originally Posted by thedaffodils View Post
    Hello! Could someone please tell me what the different between "lexicon" and "dictionary" in the defintion 1 of Merrian-Master Dictionary is. Thanks!

    eg. I bought an English-Chinese __ from a bookstore.

    (1) lexicon; (2) dictionary


    (Comment: I think both (1) and (2) are grammatically correct. But what will you think of the book if I use the different word?)
    A lexicon means a word book or dictionary of Latin, Greek or Hebrew language. In the modern times, the words lexicon is associated with the reasearch on the history of words, their origin and when they were imbibed into languae, their differnt usages and pronounciations. Thus a lexicon also gives the etymology of a given word.

    Distionary gives directions or pronounciation symbols to help you pronounce a particular word. Thus any wordbook, which gives instruction about the diction or pronounciation of word can be called dictionary.

    Thesaurus : the term thesaurus is also used frequently as a synonym for dictionary, but a theasurus is meant for a wordbook which explains the meaning of a word.

    Usually a standard dictionary gives the following:
    1) Orthography (and if there are, different spellings)
    2) pronounciation gazzetteer
    3) etymology of word
    4) part of speech and plural of that word
    5) usages in differnt contexts
    6) different meanings of the same word.


    In practical world, the field I am working in, a dictionary means any standard dictionary, and a lexicon refers to a word book which gives usages in different contexts and when you quote them in court cases, even the Supreme/Apex court approves the given meaning of standard Lexicons like that of Webster, Oxford or Cambridge.
    I refer to lexicons and quote them often during my work. They are great help and very explanative(and also very very costly).

  5. #5
    thedaffodils's Avatar
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    Default Re: lexicon vs. dictionary

    Hi SUDHKAMP,

    Thank you for your help. I'm clearer about them.

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: lexicon vs. dictionary

    Quote Originally Posted by SUDHKAMP View Post
    In practical world, the field I am working in, a dictionary means any standard dictionary, and a lexicon refers to a word book which gives usages in different contexts and when you quote them in court cases, even the Supreme/Apex court approves the given meaning of standard Lexicons like that of Webster, Oxford or Cambridge.
    We were cited in a court case in India over the meaning of an idiom and whether it would constitute a slur or slander.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: lexicon vs. dictionary

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    We were cited in a court case in India over the meaning of an idiom and whether it would constitute a slur or slander.
    Dear Tdol, please give the details of that citation and also the idiom.

    B.T.W. I also came to know of this website through Uncle Google's introduction, when I was looking for meaning of one word in usage.

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