How To Quote Dictionary Definitions In Essay

Access Date

For all content found on the Web, you must list the date you first viewed the resource. This comes last in a citation with the word "Accessed" before the date. The date is given as Day Month Year and the month is abbreviated (e.g. Oct. instead of October)

Authors/Editors

An author can be a person but can also be an organization, or company. These are called group or corporate authors.

If you are citing a chapter from a book that has an editor, the author of the chapter is listed first, and is the name listed in the in-text citation.

Dates

The format of all dates is: Date Month (shortened) Year. E.g. 5 Sept. 2012.

Page Numbers

If there is more than one page put "pp." before the page numbers. If there is only one page put "p." before the page number.

If no page numbers are provided leave them out of the citation.

Place of Publication

List the city the book was publsihed. If more than one city is listed, use the first.

Titles

Capitalize the first letter of every important word in the title. You do not need to capitalize words such as: in, of, or an.

If there is a colon (:) in the title, include what comes after the colon (also known as the subtitle).

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In-Text Citation - No Author

If a dictionary or encyclopedia entry has no author, the in-text citation should include the first word or words in the title of the entry. The title of the entry should be in quotation marks, with each word starting with a capital letter.

Include the page number where the quote or paraphrased section appears if page numbers are provided.

Examples:

("Cat Care")

("Tattooing" 54)

In most cases you should avoid using dictionaries and encyclopedias as cited sources in your papers. However, there may be some cases where it would be appropriate. This is how you would do it in those cases.

If you have an author for the entry use their name for the in-text citation and at the start of your reference list entry. When you don't have an author, which is often the case for these types of sources, follow the guidelines on page 176 of the APA Manual under example 6.15. There it states that “when a work has no identifiable author, cite the first few words of the reference list entry.”

Example in-text citation without an author:

The Charleston Index is one method for determining the mortality rate for patients with multiple diseases (Comorbidity, 2012).

Example reference list entry for the above in-text citation (note: also an example of an online reference source):

Comorbidity. (2012, November 24). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:50, November 27, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Comorbidity&oldid=524649802

Note: This is an example using Wikipedia, which is updated constantly. That is why there are more details than usual for the publication and retrieval date and time. For non-wiki reference works less detail is required.

Example in-text citation with an author:

Amnesty International was established in support of "prisoners of conscience" (Wong, 2012, p. 65).

Example reference list entry for the above in-text citation (note: also an example for a print source or source with a doi):

Wong, W. (2012). Amnesty International. In H. Anheier, & M. Juergensmeyer (Eds.), Encyclopedia of global studies. (pp. 65-67). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. doi:10.4135/9781452218557.n19

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