The Chambers Dictionary

ISBN: 0550101853
ISBN 13: 9780550101853
By: Chambers

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400dewey Currently Reading Dictionaries Dictionary English History Language Non Fiction Reference To Read

Reader's Thoughts


As a single-volume, dead-tree, unabridged English dictionary, this can't be beat, but even so, the writing is on the wall for paper dictionaries. I've recently switched to the iPad version of this dictionary which has the same content but is much more conveniently accessible. Given that "single-volume" is irrelevant online, other online unabridgeds could surpass the Chambers in terms of number of headwords (and also cost much more), but the Chambers definitions have a non-time-wasting concision to them that I have not seen elsewhere. For the few occasions when I can't find a word in the Chambers, simple Googling supplies a clue readily enough.


I'm not hopeless at languages, but one of my friends (let's call him G) totally puts me to shame. He speaks at least five fluently and can get by in several more. He's also got a remarkably good memory. Again, my memory isn't bad, but he leaves me standing.Here's an anecdote to show how good he is. We were sitting around at a friend's place sometime in the 80s. I'm not sure how we got on to the subject of spelling, but G told us that he didn't need to check spellings. He just knew how words were spelled, that's all there was to it.So, naturally, we were sceptical, and we thought we'd test his ability. We got out a copy of Chambers and looked around for a word that would be as obscure and hard to spell as possible. After a few minutes, we were sure we'd found the perfect candidate. We then had the following conversation:- It's pronounced "prett".- Ah. It must be a loan word?- Yes.- Hm. And it must have a silent letter?- Yes.- Right. Let me see ... (pause) ... M?- Uh, yes.- M-P-R-E-T.He was right. It means "an Albanian monarch". I'd like to think he cheated somehow - the alternative is just too depressing to consider.


In the event of my being marooned on a desert island and allowed only one book it would have to be a good dictionary... preferably this one.

Lynne King

I came across a poll today stating underrated books and this book was included. I was dumbfounded when I saw this. How can you possibly exist without a dictionary, in fact several dictionaries.This for me, as I'm English (UK), has to be the best and most informative. I have other dictionaries, of course, but I happen to prefer this one. My last copy got rather battered and so I replaced it last year. I like to feel my battered copy though and mostly return to that.Yet again, how can this possibly be an underrated book? Bizarre...

Tattered Cover Book Store

Chambers is my new favorite dictionary. If you, too, are the sort of person to have favorite dictionaries, you will quickly see why.- Chris C.

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