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encyclopedia

[en-sahy-kluh-pee-dee-uh] /ɛnˌsaɪ kləˈpi di ə/
noun
1.
a book or set of books containing articles on various topics, usually in alphabetical arrangement, covering all branches of knowledge or, less commonly, all aspects of one subject.
2.
(initial capital letter) the French work edited by Diderot and D'Alembert, published in the 18th century, distinguished by its representation of the views of the Enlightenment.
Also, encyclopaedia.
Origin
1525-1535
1525-35; < Neo-Latin encyclopaedia < Greek enkyklopaidía, a misreading of enkýklios paideía circular (i.e., well-rounded) education. See encyclical, pedi-2
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for encyclopaedia
  • For intro courses, for instance, one required source might be an encyclopaedia entry from the reference section of the library.
  • It's the equivalent of pulping an entire encyclopaedia on the basis of a single typo.
British Dictionary definitions for encyclopaedia

encyclopedia

/ɛnˌsaɪkləʊˈpiːdɪə/
noun
1.
a book, often in many volumes, containing articles on various topics, often arranged in alphabetical order, dealing either with the whole range of human knowledge or with one particular subject: a medical encyclopedia
Word Origin
C16: from New Latin encyclopaedia, erroneously for Greek enkuklios paideia general education, from enkuklios general (see encyclical), + paideia education, from pais child
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for encyclopaedia
n.

see encyclopedia. The Latin spelling survives as a variant because many of the most prominent ones (e.g. Britannica) have Latin names.

encyclopedia

n.

1530s, "course of instruction," from Modern Latin encyclopaedia (c.1500), thought to be a false reading by Latin authors of Greek enkyklios paideia taken as "general education," but literally "training in a circle," i.e. the "circle" of arts and sciences, the essentials of a liberal education; from enkyklios "circular," also "general" (from en "in" + kyklos "circle") + paideia "education, child-rearing," from pais (genitive paidos) "child" (see pedo-).

Modern sense of "reference work arranged alphabetically" is from 1640s, often applied specifically to the French "Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des Sciences, des Arts, et des Métiers" (1751-65).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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