Difference between Encyclopedia and Dictionary

Most of us know encyclopedias and dictionaries and many of us know the difference between the two, which are undoubtedly two excellent tools for acquiring knowledge. Difference between Encyclopedia and Dictionary

If you still don’t know what the difference is between a dictionary and an encyclopedia, but you don’t want or can’t find an answer to your question in either of the two resources; Do not worry anymore, because here as always we will clarify any questions about it.

ENCYCLOPEDIA  Difference between Encyclopedia and Dictionary

Encyclopedias have been around for 2,000 years, but it was in the seventeenth century that they evolved most notably (dictionaries were further developed at that time).

Encyclopedias are a collection of data on various topics and topics, written especially by expert, educated and well-informed authors; which share the knowledge resulting from their research in relevant matters.

They generally contain detailed information, available in different editions. When they are physical, they are in the form of huge research books. They include theses, papers, explanations and examples.

Some systematic methods of organization are essential for the elaboration of an encyclopedia, since this is a collective study and an accumulation of contents that come from different sources.

Currently we find virtual encyclopedias, which are not only integrated with dictionaries; They also offer a wide variety of multimedia resources. An example of this is of course, Wikipedia, the Encyclopedia Britannica …


A dictionary is a collection of words or vocabulary in one or more specific languages. The oldest known date from around 2,300 BC. C. and are written on cuneiform tablets with Sumerian-Akkadian words. They were discovered in Ebla (Syria today).

The dictionary as we know it was invented by an Englishman named John de Garland in the year 1220. He had written a book called Dictionarius to help with Latin diction.

The d iccionarios often have the words in alphabetical order, with use, information, definition, etymology, phonetics, pronunciation … of it. But they generally focus more on definition.

Modern dictionaries include new and defined words, even with some examples.

There are several types and varieties of dictionaries on the market. Today, a distinction is made between general and specialized dictionaries. General-purpose dictionaries are used by everyone for the sake of reference and finding the definitions of words, while specialized dictionaries do not contain information about words that are used in the language; rather, they are onomasiological: they first identify the concept and then establish the terms used for its designation. Sometimes they are also distinguished on the prescriptive and descriptive basis.

Key differences between dictionary and encyclopedia

  1. Encyclopedias provide information on various topics, present a very broad content and generally contain the contributions of many authors; while dictionaries collect words from a certain language and in alphabetical order give them their definition or show their equivalents in other languages.
  2. Encyclopedias are very broad and general informational books, while dictionaries can be general or specialized.
  3. Encyclopedias include characters, historical facts, events, places … while dictionaries contain words with their definitions.

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