Word Traveler: Glossaries or Lexicons of Special Vocabularies

This feature is for all word lovers as well as those studying for the SAT and seeking to learn new vocabulary.

Language is a fascinating subject, and a never-ending field of study. Some people think that only academicians are involved in linguistics, or the study of languages, but in fact we all are. Looking for the definition of a term in a particular subject can be difficult and time-consuming. That's where the Internet can help with the plethora of glossaries on various subjects, so you can find definitions for terms you are interested in. Lexicographers, even for the biggest dictionary publishers, cannot include all the terms from all special vocabularies.

A glossary is a collection of words and definitions that pertain to a particular subject or field of endeavor. Theoretically, a dictionary is a collection of words and definitions about all subjects in a particular language. Having said this, many of the collections of definitions on Web sites are called "dictionaries" but should really be called "glossaries" or "lexicons" as the list of definitions is restricted to specific subject(s).

Some all-in-one dictionary sites include glossaries of special vocabularies, like Onelook. At sites like this and Glossarist, the inclusion of a glossary is a bit of assurance that the glossary is fairly well-respected and used frequently on the Internet.

If you are able to locate a glossary containing the term you are seeking, but cannot find the term in any print or online dictionaries, beware! You should double-check the term in books on the subject that include glossaries or check to see how the term shows up on the Internet when coupled with the subject. For example, search on linemate +hockey or short-shifting +hockey.

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