Chambers's Dictionary

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This is a bibliography page, concerning a work to which reference is made elsewhere in this guide.

The name Chambers's Dictionary is widely, but loosely, used to denote a whole series of monoglot English Dictionaries published by the firm of W. & R. Chambers. The first was:

  • Chambers's Etymological Dictionary (1867), by James Donald, W. & R. Chambers. This continued to be published: there were at least 4 editions up to 1921. But it also gave rise to the larger and revised :
  • Chambers's English Dictionary (1872), edited by Thomas Davidson (London, W. & R. Chambers), with a second edition in 1898, and at least four more up to 1929.
  • Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary, edited by Rev. T. Davidson, first appeared in 1901. Many editions and reprintings followed under the editorship of Davidson and, from 1952 (Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary: New midcentury version Edinburgh & London: W. & R. Chambers), edited by W. Geddie.
  • This was followed naturally enough by Chambers 21st Century Dictionary (editor Mairi Robinson, Edinburgh: Chambers); less naturally, this first appeared in 1996, with subsequent editions in 1999 and in 2003. Its focus is said to be "on the English that people use today [with] definitions ... in straightforward, accessible language. It is packed with usage notes." This may make it more useful for foreign learners of English, while the rather larger
  • Chambers Dictionary (c. 2008), which the publishers claim "remains the dictionary of choice for professional writers, puzzle and wordgame enthusiasts and everyone with a love of words. This new edition of the dictionary includes definitions of over 500 words that have entered the language since 2003" is the better bet for most purposes in university study. (The 2003 edition was described as the 9th in the British Library catalogue, which adds the note "Originally published as: Chambers’s twentieth century dictionary. 1901; published as: Chambers English dictionary. 1988".)

There is a whole family of English dictionaries in the Chambers catalogue: see [[1]]