Dictionary/encyclopedia: how to cite in APA (7th ed.)?

Create a spot-on reference in APA 7 and 6

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General rules


APA Style (7th ed.) treats dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauri, and other similar source types as book editions. Consequently, a bibliographic reference to a dictionary, encyclopedia, etc. should follow the same pattern as a reference to a book and contain the name of the author, year of publication, title, and publisher, as well as, whenever relevant, editors, edition number, URL, and other details.

Basic dictionary/encyclopedia reference template:

Author(s). (Year). Dictionary title. Publisher.

N.B.: If you are using an electronic copy of a print dictionary available online, add the URL address to the reference.

N.B.: If you are using an online dictionary that can be updated, give the retrieval date in addition to the URL as described in this article.

Dictionary entry/encyclopedia article

A dictionary entry explaining a word or an encyclopedia article are parts of a larger book edition. Therefore, in accordance with the requirements of APA Style (7th ed.), bibliographic references to such sources should follow the same template as a book chapter:

Author(s). Entry title. In Editor (Ed.), Book title (pp. pages). Publisher.

N.B.: If you are citing an entry/article from an online dictionary/encyclopedia that can be updated or modified, give not only the URL but also the retrieval date in the reference. See more here.

Refer to this article for the rules of giving the names of authors, editors, and other contributors in APA Style.

Examples of references

Dictionary, encyclopedia

Gornitz, V. (Ed.). (2008). Encyclopedia of paleoclimatology and ancient environments. Springer.

Collins. (n.d.). Collins online dictionary. Retrieved November 17, 2022, from https://www.collinsdictionary.com/

Dictionary entry, encyclopedia article

Crosta, X. (2008). Antarctic Sea ice history, Late Quaternary. In V. Gornitz (Ed.), Encyclopedia of paleoclimatology and ancient environments (pp. 31–34). Springer.

Collins. (n.d.). Goalscorer. In Collins online dictionary. Retrieved November 17, 2022, from https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/slash

Other citation styles: