Example APA Style: Dictionary

To define a word in your thesis you can use a dictionary. The APA Style has two different notations for the reference of a dictionary. For the right reference you have to distinguish between an online and a printed dictionary.

 Printed dictionary
APA-formatSearchterm. (year). In TitleDictionary (edition). CityPublisher, Country/State: Publisher
In reference listChardonnay. (2005). In Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary (11e ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.
In the text
  • Chardonnay can be defined as: “…” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 2005).
  • According to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (2005) Chardonnay can be defined as: “…”.
 Online dictionary
APA-formatSearchterm. (year). In TitleDictionary (edition). Retrieved from http://Website
In reference listChardonnay. (2005). In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary (11 ed.). Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/thesis
In the text
  • Chardonnay can be defined as: “…” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 2005).
  • According to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (2005) Chardonnay can be defined as: “…”.

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Koen Driessen

Koen has written multiple theses and founded, together with Bas and Richard, the thesis editing company Scribbr in 2012.

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