The main difference between glossary and dictionary is that a glossary is a reference source that includes terms specific to a particular subject, while a dictionary is a reference source that gives you information about words, their meanings, pronunciation, and usage.
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Generally, both glossaries and dictionaries can be published as printed books, e-books, or as digital platforms such as mobile apps or websites. Both these reference sources can come in monolingual, bilingual, or multilingual versions.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is a Glossary – Definition, Features 2. What is a Dictionary – Definition, Features3. Similarities Between Glossary and Dictionary – Outline of Common Features4. Difference Between Glossary and Dictionary – Comparison of Key Differences
What is a Glossary
A glossary is a list or a book of terms specific to a particular field, such as medicine, biology, and law. In fact, many fields of study like medicine and law use terms that are quite unique to that particular field of study. Therefore, authors usually provide the readers with a glossary to help them comprehend what they are trying to communicate. For instance, a history textbook might have a glossary in the end, which would allow readers to quickly lookup for the meaning of the technical terms that appear in the book.
Generally, a glossary appears at the end of a book or an article. It is usually in alphabetical order. However, a glossary may also appear at the end of a chapter or even as footnotes. Moreover, glossaries are quite practical. Even if you are a teenager who is trying to play an online game such as Imposter or PUBG, a glossary would be helpful to understand what the other gamers are talking about.
What is a Dictionary
A dictionary is a reference resource that provides information about different terms, their meanings, pronunciations, and usage in varying contexts. A dictionary is usually published as a printed book or as a digital product: a website, an e-book or a mobile app. It can also be monolingual, bilingual, or multilingual.
In simple words, a dictionary is a resource that helps us to check the proper spelling of a word, its definition, and how the word can be used in different contexts. Generally, we can find printed dictionaries in libraries, book shops, schools, offices, and homes all over the world. Just imagine you are enthusiastic about learning the German language. A dictionary gives you access to thousands of new German words and the knowledge on how to use them in different contexts.
Similarities Between Glossary and DictionaryDictionaries and glossaries are good sources of reference.They provide you with the definitions of different terms.In addition, these sources are usually arranged alphabetically.Both glossaries and dictionaries are available as printed materials or e-materials.Moreover, they come in monolingual, bilingual or multilingual versions.
Difference Between Glossary and Dictionary
A glossary is a reference source of terms specific to a particular subject, while a dictionary is a reference source that gives you information about words, their meanings, pronunciation and usage.
A dictionary usually includes different terms, their meanings, pronunciations, and usage in varying contexts, while a glossary includes specific subject-oriented terms with their definitions.
A dictionary is not usually subject-specific in contrast to a glossary which includes only specific field-oriented terms.
Glossaries can be a separate publication, or they can appear at the end of a book or an article, whereas dictionaries are always published as separate publications.
In brief, the main difference between glossary and dictionary is that a glossary usually includes terms and meanings related to one particular field of study, whereas a dictionary does not limit its scope to one area. However, if you are a scholar or a language enthusiast, both glossaries and dictionaries become significant reference sources you might have to work with daily.
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1. “The Glossary: A Gateway to Clear Requirements and Communication.” Bridging the Space , 18 May 2021. 2. Shoebottom, Paul. “How to Use a Dictionary Effectively.” Frankfurt International School.Image Courtesy:
1. “INITION | UK 3D & VR Specialists | Glossary of Terms” By Amber Case (CC BY-NC 2.0) via Flickr2. “Dictionary page, dictionary, words, grammar, abc, letters, lookup, reading, learning, study” (CC0) via Pxfuel