The library catalog will be intermittently unavailable from 6:30AM to 8:30AM on Wednesday, October 7.

Find Materials

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias & Almanacs

Almanacs & Records | Encyclopedias | English Dictionaries | Foreign Languages | Specialized Dictionaries

Almanacs & Records

Information Please - An encyclopedia, almanac, and dictionary all in one. Topics include world, sports, business, entertainment, people, science, and technology.

Guinness World Records - In addition to the usual records of interest, this site also includes some videos of record holders and information on how to apply to become a record holder.


General Encyclopedias

Encyclopaedia Britannica Online (available only to UA) - Major English language general encyclopedia. For historical research, a free version of the Britannica 11th edition published in 1911 is available online. - Searches the Columbia Encyclopedia (2004), Wikipedia, and On this Day.

Wikipedia - a free online encyclopedia.

Gale Virtual Reference Library - searches a selected set of subject encyclopedias and other reference works. (Select the Title List at the top of the screen to see a list of the titles included.)

For other subject-specific online encyclopedias, please see the appropriate subject guides. Most important encyclopedias are listed on the first page (Background information) of each guide.


Dictionaries - English

English Language Dictionaries - provides reliable access to millions of word definitions, synonyms, spelling, audio pronunciations, example sentences, and translations.

Oxford English Dictionary (OED) (available only to UA) - Contains the complete text of the OED's 20-volume second edition and 3-volume Additions Series. Also includes draft material from the current OED project, representing the latest progress towards a completely revised and updated third edition. The OED online can be used to perform simple searches for word definitions or for full-text searching of all OED's definitions, etymologies, and quotations through the search function. Updated quarterly.

Cambridge Dictionaries Online - Includes dictionaries of American English, Learner's and Advanced Learner's (of English), idioms, and phrasal verbs.

Handspeak - This visual sign language dictionary allows users to actually see the signs performed online. Over 3,000 signs available so far.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary (from Britannica Online Encyclopedia) (available only to UA) - Includes pronunciation, etymology, date, function, and definitions and will offer alternative words if your entry is misspelled.

OneLook Dictionaries - This search engine provides access to over 1,000 online general and specialized dictionaries, which can find, define, and translate words and acronyms.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1913 and 1828 Editions - Search using single word. Most entries contain cross references. WILL NOT offer alternative words if your entry is misspelled.


Acronym Finder - Find out the meanings of acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms.

Thesauri - Content comes from three proprietary reference sources, including Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus.


Dictionaries - Foreign Languages


French-English / English-French Dictionary - ARTFL Project (University of Chicago).


BEOLINGUS - Includes over 600,000 German-English word translations, as well as German-Spanish and German-Portuguese translations. (Technische Universit├Ąt Chemnitz)

QuickDic (German-English/English-German) - QuickDic may be used online or the latest version downloaded. Includes over 300,000 words.


English-Spanish Dictionary (Library Science/Information Technology) - This is a compilation of the terminology used by library and information professionals. Created by Tony Lozano at University of Granada, Spain.

Multiple Languages Language Dictionaries - A compilation of online dictionaries for nearly 300 languages. Also includes information about endangered languages.

Translation Services

BabelFish - Words, phrases, and even web page translations are provided in 75 languages.

Bing Translator - Provides automatic translation to and from over 30 languages by pasting in text or a web page URL. Uses Microsoft Translator.

Google Language Tools - Translates text or web pages in a number of languages. You can also search web pages in specific languages or located in specific countries from this page. Even more languages are available at Google Translate.

Free - An easy-to-use site for rapid translations where you can get the "gist" of foreign language text and web pages. Includes English to and from Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish, plus English to Chinese and Norwegian. Professional services also available for a fee. - Allows searching and translation of results (and articles, when available) in nine languages currently in this scientific database. Uses Microsoft Translator.


Specialized Dictionaries

A Dictionary of Units - Provides a summary of most of the units of measurement in use around the world today (and a few of historical interest). Also provides the appropriate conversion factors for measures in the International System of Units (SI). Specialty Dictionaries - Lists online dictionaries available in many different subject areas.

Last modified: July 7, 2015