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MLA Citation Style, 9th Edition: Dictionary or Encyclopedia

Dictionary or Encyclopedia - Examples

Example 1 – Well-known General Dictionary

Works Cited:

"Saturnalia." Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed., 1989.


Example 2 – Well-known General Encyclopedia

Works Cited:

"Eugenics." Encyclopaedia Britannica. 15th ed., 2007.


Example 3 – Specialized Dictionary or Encyclopedia


(Olohan 248)

Works Cited:

Olohan, Maeve. "Scientific and Technical Translation." Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. Edited by Mona Baker and Gabriela Saldanha. 2nd ed., Routledge, 2011.


NOTE: As long as you reference the entry (e.g. "eugenics") and the source (e.g. Encyclopaedia Britannica) in the text, you need not include a parenthetical reference for well-known general dictionaries and encyclopedias.

The distinction between general and specialized reference works is not always clear.  If a dictionary or encyclopedia focuses on a particular subject or topic, and if the entries within it are substantial and are authored by scholars whose names are provided, it is likely best to use the format shown in Example 3 above.

If citing a specific entry among several for the same word, add Entry and the appropriate designation (e.g., number, letter):

"Manual." Entry 2. Webster's Third New International Dictionary. 1981.