Definition of encyclopedia in English:


(also encyclopaedia)


  • A book or set of books giving information on many subjects or on many aspects of one subject and typically arranged alphabetically.

    • ‘If you are unable to find a biography, check an encyclopedia or reference book at your library.’
    • ‘She has long been considered the authority on Walker's life and has been a contributor to books, encyclopedias and articles about Walker.’
    • ‘The book resembles an encyclopedia, with 3,000 recipes from five other countries in addition to Italy.’
    • ‘Her citations, however, include only an encyclopedia and four books on Africa.’
    • ‘On the internet, there are vast chunks of information in online encyclopaedias and digital directories, all of which can be instantly updated.’
    • ‘The wooden headboard held many books including, the Bible, a dictionary, encyclopedias, books, songs, and poems she had written.’
    • ‘It stocks a vast selection of books and magazines going far beyond the expected reference books and encyclopaedias.’
    • ‘Students can also access electronic multimedia encyclopedias, library references, and online publications.’
    • ‘Well we learned how to use encyclopedias and almanacs and handbooks.’
    • ‘Some of my favorite books are old, gorgeously illustrated encyclopedias and atlases.’
    • ‘There were lots of bookshelves filled with books, encyclopedias and dictionaries.’
    • ‘‘Most textbooks belong in the reference category along with encyclopedias, dictionaries, and thesauruses’.’
    • ‘The major e-library sites will offer on-line reference tools like encyclopedias and dictionaries along with thousands of books and journal articles.’
    • ‘The bulk of the book is an encyclopedia covering 700 species of ferns found in cultivation.’
    • ‘This book is an encyclopedia of common sewing techniques from Appliqué to Zippers.’
    • ‘In addition to leveling churches, houses, and graveyards, ethnic cleansers burn books, encyclopedias, and dictionaries.’
    • ‘There were also some dictionaries, encyclopedias and travel books, so I could say that their library was complete.’
    • ‘I am looking at encyclopaedias and reference books to decide what I am best at.’
    • ‘Besides the standard dictionaries, encyclopedias and almanacs, I have shelf upon shelf of volumes that perhaps even a professional librarian wouldn't recognise as reference books.’
    • ‘Exploring encyclopedias and resource books in both languages can enhance children's construction of new concepts.’


Mid 16th century: modern Latin, from pseudo-Greek enkuklopaideia for enkuklios paideia all-round education.