• Encyclopedia


    • Canada IPA: /ənˌsəɪ.kləˈpi.diə/
    • UK IPA: /ɪnˌsaɪ.kləˈpi(ː).diə/
    • Rhymes: -iːdiə
    • Hyphenation: en + cy + clo + pe + dia

    Alternative forms


    From Latin encyclopaedia, from Ancient Greek ἐγκύκλιος παιδεία (enkuklios paideia, "the circle of arts and sciences, curriculum"), from ἐγκύκλιος (enkuklios, "circular, rounded, round"), from κύκλος (kuklos, "circle") + παιδεία (paideia, "the rearing of a child, education"), from παιδίον (paidion, "child").

    Full definition of encyclopedia



    (plural encyclopedias or encyclopediae or encyclopediæ)
    1. A comprehensive reference work (often spanning several printed volumes) with in-depth articles (usually arranged in alphabetical order, or sometimes arranged by category) on a range of subjects, sometimes general, sometimes limited to a particular field.I only use the library for the encyclopedia, as we’ve got most other books here.His life's work was a four-volume encyclopedia of aviation topics.
    2. (dated) The circle of arts and sciences; a comprehensive summary of knowledge, or of a branch of knowledge.

    Usage notes

    The spelling encyclopedia is standard in American English, preferred in Canadian English, accepted in Australian and International English, and also very common in British English. It is more common than encyclopaedia, for example, in UK newspapers on Google News in 2009 by a 7:3 margin.

    Derived terms

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