encyclopedia

[en-sahy-kluh-pee-dee-uh]
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:
1525–35; < Neo-Latin encyclopaedia < Greek enkyklopaidía, a misreading of enkýklios paideía circular (i.e., well-rounded) education. See encyclical, pedi-2

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World English Dictionary
encyclopedia or encyclopaedia (ɛnˌsaɪkləʊˈpiːdɪə)
 
n
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
 
[C16: from New Latin encyclopaedia, erroneously for Greek enkuklios paideia general education, from enkuklios general (see encyclical), + paideia education, from pais child]
 
encyclopaedia or encyclopaedia
 
n
 
[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 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

encyclopedia
1530s, "course of construction," thought to be a false reading by L. authors of Gk. enkyklios paideia taken as "general education," but lit. "training in a circle," the essentials of a liberal education, from enkyklios "circular," also "general" (from en- "in" + kyklos "circle") + paideia "education,
child-rearing," from pais (gen. 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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Example sentences
They take a small and interesting chapter in the book of evolution and
  extrapolate it into the entire encyclopedia of life.
To say that the book is an encyclopedia of human hearts would not be an
  exaggeration.
Get fast facts and a detailed history from this encyclopedia article.
They've just finished printing an encyclopedia unlike any encyclopedia ever
  printed before.
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