Explaining meaning in lexicographical information tools

Authored by: Heidi Agerbo

The Routledge Handbook of Lexicography

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  October  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138941601
eBook ISBN: 9781315104942
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315104942.ch4

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Abstract

The definition is often considered the most important aspect of a dictionary both by dictionary users and lexicographers. This is, for example, expressed in the definition of dictionary in the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English in which this is the only data type that is mentioned, “a book that gives a list of words in alphabetical order and explains their meanings in the same language, or another language” – though not all dictionaries are books, not all dictionaries explain meanings (definitions) and the lemmas are not necessarily alphabetically ordered. The salience given to definitions is also emphasized by Lombard (1991: 158), who argues that “[t]he lexicographical definition is still the most important entry in a dictionary article.”

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