The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

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A major revision of the Fifth Edition of The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, the premier resource about words for people who seek to know more and find fresh perspectives. This new printing, which marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the original American Heritage Dictionary, presents the most up-to-date research about the words in our language in an accessible and elegant design, featuring thousands of revisions, including more than 150 new words and senses.

This is the fiftieth anniversary printing of The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language. This beloved dictionary has become the premier resource for anyone who wants to know precisely what words mean, where they come from, and how to use them effectively. It is renowned for presenting accurate and comprehensible definitions, etymologies based on the latest research, and authoritative usage guidance from the celebrated American Heritage Usage Panel.

The fifth edition of the dictionary, published in 2011, included 10,000 new words and senses, as well as 4,000 new full-color images. This comprehensive update continues the tradition of exhaustive research and thorough review. Thousands of revisions to definitions and etymologies, 150 new words and senses, and new usage advice make this updated printing the most current print dictionary of its size available today.

The American Heritage Dictionary combines clear, precise definitions with useful features that make it easier to choose your words and express yourself clearly. Your words really do define you. Make the most of them with the guidance of this respected work of reference.

About the Author

THE EDITORS OF THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARIES are a team of professional lexicographers with advanced degrees in various scholarly fields. The editors familiarize themselves with the vocabulary in specific subject areas, collect materials on new developments and usage, and work with expert consultants to ensure that their publications are accurate and up-to-date.

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4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
527 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

G Willy
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
American Heritage 5th edition is an amazing powerhouse full of stealthy surprises
Reviewed in the United States on May 10, 2019
I adore my new American Heritage dictionary. It is my bible--my truth and my light. For lovers and explorers of words, this book provides lifetimes of page-flipping, intellectual adventures. Definitions are clear and concise; beyond-basic synonyms are provided for one to... See more
I adore my new American Heritage dictionary. It is my bible--my truth and my light. For lovers and explorers of words, this book provides lifetimes of page-flipping, intellectual adventures. Definitions are clear and concise; beyond-basic synonyms are provided for one to become lost in a linguistic labyrinth and peruse perpetually; and importantly, word origins reveal the birth of one''s repertoire of known and waiting-to-be-discovered lexicon--know thy provenance.

Indeed, the seven-plus pounds of papyrus--sturdily bound and hard covered--deceptively serves a multitude of purposes. For instance, I insist using this dictionary when playing Scrabble and accordingly have created a make-shift book cover out of a brown paper sack with the words "The Only Official Scrabble Dictionary" calligraphed in Gothic script. The sheer size of this book alone intimidates opponents, which makes beads of sweat form on their brows and evokes reluctance to challenge words that I devise. Here''s a hint: the probability of randomly constructing a word within reason (e.g., consonants and vowels reasonably interspersed, rather than a string of consonants--unless Latin is fair game) AND finding it in this particular dictionary is high. That is to say, take a bold chance--a shot in the dark--in composing unfamiliar/unknown words because the odds of the word being in this book are favorable, and you''ll likely learn a new word in the process--just make sure you''re wearing a poker face.

A few other beneficial--albeit obscure--uses include (a) an effective weight that flattens/restores curled and bent edges of other books and paper(s) within hours, (b) a booster seat if you can barely see over the steering wheel, (c) a significant elevation boost to reach the top shelves in pantries, cabinets, and closets, and (d) a powerful bludgeoning weapon--delivering fatal blows via swinging or projecting--fashioned by securing bungee cords or ropes in a cross pattern around the central, horizontal and vertical axes of the dictionary. Lastly, a catapult filled with a few of these babies would surely cause fortifications--e.g., the proposed US-Mexico border wall--to come crumbling down, not to mention that one would be safe from legal repercussions because, after all, just claim that you''re an aid in ESL efforts, attempting to deliver academic resources to neighbors in need of good ol'' American assimilation on the other side.

Testimony: Prior to receiving this dictionary about six months ago, my vocabulary was comparable to an average 5th grade pupil''s. But, after studying for 30 minutes a day, six days a week, the results are robustly overt. I have better self-esteem, my visage is more vivacious, and I''ve earned a yellow belt in the local library''s Scrabble Association of America, Sigma Gamma Radiation Chapter. It''s just been a total life changer in general. Thanks American Heritage--y''all ROCK!
39 people found this helpful
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G. Mosley
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
the prior edition was better. The paper this time is thinner
Reviewed in the United States on July 23, 2017
Unfortunately, the prior edition was better. The paper this time is thinner. The illustrations are still here, and they''re good, and the new word list is appropriate. However, the book doesn''t include a CD-ROM. (Apparently, we''re all on the cloud, and we''re all going to be... See more
Unfortunately, the prior edition was better. The paper this time is thinner. The illustrations are still here, and they''re good, and the new word list is appropriate. However, the book doesn''t include a CD-ROM. (Apparently, we''re all on the cloud, and we''re all going to be on our darn phones, and no one is expected to use physical media, when corporations can meter usage by website access and sell advertising or mine data that way.)
Don''t get me wrong: I like the AHD. It''s the philologist''s print dictionary. The etymological dictionaries included are precious. However, I do not assume that there is always wifi access, nor that I wish to access a website all the time that my large book is away from my hand. A bit gormless, in my view.
51 people found this helpful
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LooLoo
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Love this dictionary
Reviewed in the United States on December 28, 2019
This is the updated dictionary from the copy I had as a child. I bought this copy for my tween, and showed her the resources at the end and beginning of the book. The pictures are color, and there are more pictures, and graphics than before. It’s still a full dictionary, so... See more
This is the updated dictionary from the copy I had as a child. I bought this copy for my tween, and showed her the resources at the end and beginning of the book. The pictures are color, and there are more pictures, and graphics than before. It’s still a full dictionary, so it’s large, but if you have or are reader, or are gifting to a reader, this is a great choice.
23 people found this helpful
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Chrissy M. Strawn
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I love dictionaries!!!
Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2019
My old 4th edition of this dictionary was woefully out of date. So I replaced my American Heritage forth edition with the Fifth Edition: Fiftieth Anniversary Printing. Soon I will be purchasing another dictionary, an Unabridged Dictionary to replace my old Websters. I have... See more
My old 4th edition of this dictionary was woefully out of date. So I replaced my American Heritage forth edition with the Fifth Edition: Fiftieth Anniversary Printing. Soon I will be purchasing another dictionary, an Unabridged Dictionary to replace my old Websters. I have a huge vocabulary both from dictionaries and over 100,000 books. My vocabulary is over 150,000 words. If you want to improve how you speak and write, start with a very good dictionary!!!
24 people found this helpful
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Joe A
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Big Heavy Book in this Day & Age? --Yes!
Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2019
If they want to check what a word means, how to spell it or pronounce it, most people nowadays simply Google it, getting everything they need in a trice, including an audio pronunciation--no need to understand those diacritic marks in the print dictionary''s guide. So, why... See more
If they want to check what a word means, how to spell it or pronounce it, most people nowadays simply Google it, getting everything they need in a trice, including an audio pronunciation--no need to understand those diacritic marks in the print dictionary''s guide. So, why have a big fat dictionary like this huge (11" X 9" X 2.4") special edition of the American Heritage? Because it''s fun to just browse through its big pages, skimming randomly or scanning for weird words and odd usages. If you like to open a book once in a while rather than always tapping, swiping and clicking--and if you can dedicate a bit of space for the open tome--you''ll love this handsome, colorful dictionary. The words are easy to discern because they''re in blue while the definitions are in black. And there are many color photos and illustrations in the wide margins. The Usage Panel, chaired by linguist Steven Pinker, comprises a myriad of famous writers and distinguished professors. In their many "usage notes," the panel is not in the business of dictating and promulgating rules, by the way. They clearly explain how language has changed and keeps changing.

There''s a wealth of information in this book, sometimes to the point of seeming like a concise encyclopedia, not just a dictionary. Every time I browse through it, I learn something new.
16 people found this helpful
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Cynthia
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The choice of linguists!
Reviewed in the United States on June 6, 2020
The AHD is a gem for those who love the English language as well as those just looking up a word. I replaced my 3rd edition, bought nearly 30 years ago, with this updated 5th edition for the 50th anniversary of the AHD in order to get all the new words which have come into... See more
The AHD is a gem for those who love the English language as well as those just looking up a word. I replaced my 3rd edition, bought nearly 30 years ago, with this updated 5th edition for the 50th anniversary of the AHD in order to get all the new words which have come into the language as well as updated usages and etymologies. As a linguist, the AHD is my best friend. It has not only words and definitions, but also grammatical categories, pronunciations, word usage notes, examples of use, synonyms, etymologies, and, at the back, the Indo-European roots. And I find also that an appendix on Semitic roots has been added! Yeh! The pictures are all in color, and the head words are in blue allowing for faster retrieval in a scan of a page. Make sure you look your new dictionary over thoroughly--read the first few pages about variation and change in English, usage in the AHD, and guide to the AHD. You will learn so much! And don''t forget to find English on the wheel inside the back cover--some of you may be surprised to find that English, though full of French and Latin, is genetically a Germanic language.
8 people found this helpful
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Jane A.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Dictionary
Reviewed in the United States on September 3, 2019
Easy to read and the pictures on the sides of each page makes it more interesting than the average dictionary.
14 people found this helpful
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R. M. Sills
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
still an excellent dictionary, but fewer interesting side notes
Reviewed in the United States on March 17, 2012
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language has been my favorite dictionary for many years. I just bought the fifth edition (2084 pages), and still have the first (1550 pages) and fourth (2074 pages). In this review, I''ll discuss two items -- the entries... See more
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language has been my favorite dictionary for many years. I just bought the fifth edition (2084 pages), and still have the first (1550 pages) and fourth (2074 pages). In this review, I''ll discuss two items -- the entries themselves, and the side notes for various words.

For the entries, I looked at a short section near the word "dictionary." Compared to the fourth edition, the fifth edition dropped "didapper" (a type of grebe) and added "dicyclomine" (a medical drug); this reflects a greater emphasis on technical words. (This continues a trend that has been occurring since the first edition -- dropping "Dictograph" and "Didache" and adding "dictyosome" and "didanosine.")

To me, the outstanding feature of the American Heritage Dictionary has been the side notes -- not just synonyms, but also usage notes, word histories, etc. Unfortunately, in this respect, the fifth edition is considerably weaker than the fourth.

In the L section through "limbo", the fourth edition has 24 words with side notes (excluding synonyms), but the fifth edition has only 13. That is, about half of the old side notes are gone. The fifth edition no longer has a word history for "lemon", a usage note for "lifestyle", or a regional note for "lightning bug." There is also a small reduction in the number of words with synonyms.

These side notes made the American Heritage Dictionary fun for browsing, and the fifth edition is much weaker in this regard than the fourth. It''s still an excellent dictionary, but less interesting and enjoyable than the previous edition.
150 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Edwar Olmedo
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
It is an excellent English dictionary !!!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 9, 2021
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition is an excellent resource to have a good command of the English language. Moreover, if you are studying English, you can use it just to keep your hand in and pass your exams with flying colors! To tell...See more
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition is an excellent resource to have a good command of the English language. Moreover, if you are studying English, you can use it just to keep your hand in and pass your exams with flying colors! To tell you the truth, it is a big dictionary which contains the parts of speech, a lot of pictures, phrasal verbs and idioms; therefore, I did like it very much and consider it as an indispensable tool for my educational background. On the other hand, knowing new vocabulary is the key for the communication and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition, meets this expectation!!! I highly recommend it because it is very well designed to help both professionals and students of English to be successful in the professional field !!!
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition is an excellent resource to have a good command of the English language. Moreover, if you are studying English, you can use it just to keep your hand in and pass your exams with flying colors! To tell you the truth, it is a big dictionary which contains the parts of speech, a lot of pictures, phrasal verbs and idioms; therefore, I did like it very much and consider it as an indispensable tool for my educational background. On the other hand, knowing new vocabulary is the key for the communication and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition, meets this expectation!!! I highly recommend it because it is very well designed to help both professionals and students of English to be successful in the professional field !!!
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sha huang
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
good
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 5, 2019
pretty good
pretty good
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Umesh Kumar Singh
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Product''s Content not much as was expected
Reviewed in India on July 11, 2020
The product received in dazzling packing with best quality prints & Encyclopedic knowledge about all walk of life but it still failed to provide as many words as contained in Webster''s Encyclopedic Unabridged dictionary. Many long, obsolete & archaic & Slang words are...See more
The product received in dazzling packing with best quality prints & Encyclopedic knowledge about all walk of life but it still failed to provide as many words as contained in Webster''s Encyclopedic Unabridged dictionary. Many long, obsolete & archaic & Slang words are missing. No clear information has been given as to the origin of 95% words except a few. Regarding geographical knowledge about many countries of the world is very brief. Advice :- this Encylopedia Edition must cover all these things mentioned above. I am not v satisfied with the content.
The product received in dazzling packing with best quality prints & Encyclopedic knowledge about all walk of life but it still failed to provide as many words as contained in Webster''s Encyclopedic Unabridged dictionary.
Many long, obsolete & archaic & Slang words are missing.
No clear information has been given as to the origin of 95% words except a few. Regarding geographical knowledge about many countries of the world is very brief.

Advice :- this Encylopedia Edition must cover all these things mentioned above.

I am not v satisfied with the content.
One person found this helpful
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Subramaniam Mathimani
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Amazing Dictionary
Reviewed in India on June 24, 2018
I''m thrilled indeed to get this reference materials. Because, I''m almost in search of this Dictionary for more than ten years. Only through Amazon I got it. My children has got the opportunity to refer these Dictionaries during their childhood. Now my grand children have...See more
I''m thrilled indeed to get this reference materials. Because, I''m almost in search of this Dictionary for more than ten years. Only through Amazon I got it. My children has got the opportunity to refer these Dictionaries during their childhood. Now my grand children have got the opportunity. Thank you very much Amazon. Really it''s amazing.
I''m thrilled indeed to get this reference materials. Because, I''m almost in search of this Dictionary for more than ten years. Only through Amazon I got it. My children has got the opportunity to refer these Dictionaries during their childhood. Now my grand children have got the opportunity. Thank you very much Amazon. Really it''s amazing.
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Jaqueline Almeida
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Funcional
Reviewed in Brazil on April 3, 2021
O dicionário é excelente em termos de conteúdo. A única questão que incomoda, mas isso não desmerece o produto, é o tamanho do livro, o que torna difícil o manuseio. Acredito que um bom suporte para livro deva resolver isso. No mais, o dicionário me pareceu bem completo,...See more
O dicionário é excelente em termos de conteúdo. A única questão que incomoda, mas isso não desmerece o produto, é o tamanho do livro, o que torna difícil o manuseio. Acredito que um bom suporte para livro deva resolver isso. No mais, o dicionário me pareceu bem completo, com belas ilustrações, as quais, sem margem para dúvida, ajudam na fixação do vocabulário.
O dicionário é excelente em termos de conteúdo. A única questão que incomoda, mas isso não desmerece o produto, é o tamanho do livro, o que torna difícil o manuseio. Acredito que um bom suporte para livro deva resolver isso. No mais, o dicionário me pareceu bem completo, com belas ilustrações, as quais, sem margem para dúvida, ajudam na fixação do vocabulário.
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The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English 2021 Language, Fifth Edition: online Fiftieth Anniversary Printing online