Answered By: Gopal Dutta Last Updated: Sep 20, 2019 Views: 185
You do not always need to cite and reference a dictionary definition. Whether you need to or not will depend on the type of dictionary and/or how you are using the definition in your work.
As you are not using the words, ideas or theory of an author, you do not usually need to cite and reference a language dictionary (for example the Oxford English dictionary). Instead, introduce the definition in your writing. One way to present this is as follows:
According to the Oxford English Dictionary the definition of [XXXXX] is [XXXXXX]
If however you have a particular need in your work to cite a language dictionary definition, for example, if comparing varying definitions from language dictionaries by different publishers, follow the format as follows. The example provided is for an online dictionary, therefore 'online' is used in the citation in place of the page number.
(Oxford English Dictionary, 2016:online)
If you are going to refer to the Oxford English Dictionary again in your work, introduce the acronym OED in your citation as follows
(Oxford English Dictionary [OED], 2016:online)
Oxford English Dictionary. (2016) reference, v. 3. Oxford: Oxford University. [Online] [Accessed on 10th February 2017] http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/160845
Subject dictionaries and encyclopedias
As subject dictionaries and encyclopedias are usually written by a specific author/s or organisation, and contextual definitions are provided, you will need to cite and reference them in the usual way.
To reference definitions in subject dictionaries or encyclopedias, follow the format for referencing a Chapter in an edited book
Muncie, J. (2001) 'Labelling.' In McLaughlin, E. and Muncie, J. (eds.) The SAGE dictionary of criminology. London: SAGE, pp. 159-160.