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12 Things You Want to Know about Resources: Define a Word/Term

This guide targets students in the areas of Arts and Social Sciences. All the pages will be updated to provide new features.

Defining each important term in your paper is the first step.

Different dictionaries/authors may define the same word/term differently and it is likely that your definition of a word/term will not be the same as that of your reader. Offering a definition from a proper source in your paper allows you and your reader to be on the same page. Consider your audience to share your viewpoint effectively.

Try two databases below:

Recommended Online Dictionaries

Oxford English Dictionary

According to the Oxford University Press, "Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of 600,000 words— past and present."

Search Oxford English Dictionary


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The following information comes from "New words added to OxfordDictionaries.com today include binge-watch, cray, and vape."

What’s the difference between OxfordDictionaries.com and the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)?

The English language dictionary content on OxfordDictionaries.com focuses on current English and includes modern meanings of words and associated usage examples.

The OED, on the other hand, is a historical dictionary and forms a record of all the core words and meanings in English over more than 1,000 years, from Old English to the present day, including many obsolete and historical terms.

How do new words get added to Oxford Dictionaries?

Credo Reference

Credo gives you opportunities to think about a term, concept, theory and/or name, in relation to other words.

Enter a word or term in the box below to see the result.


See an example (Social Justice).

How to introduce definitions and clarify meaning

Writing up your university assignments and research projects: A practical handbook (2008)

Murray, N., & Hughes, G. (2008). Writing up your university assignments and research projects: A practical handbook. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education.