Citing a Dictionary in APA Style (6th Edition) | Format & Examples
To cite a dictionary definition in APA style, start with the word you’re citing, followed by the publication year, the dictionary name, and the publisher or URL. If there is no publication date, replace it with “n.d.” (“no date”).
|Format||Entry name. (Year). In Dictionary name (edition). Place: Publisher or Retrieved from URL|
|Reference list||Documentation. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/documentation|
|APA 6 in-text citation||(“Documentation,” n.d.)|
The format for encyclopedia entries is exactly the same, except that they’re more likely to list authors:
|Reference list||Lariviere, S. (n.d.). Hooded seal. In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/animal/hooded-seal|
|In-text citation||(Lariviere, n.d.)|
How to cite an online dictionary entry
Online dictionaries and encyclopedias tend to be continuously updated, so you usually won’t have a specific publication date. In this case, write “n.d.” (no date) in place of the year:
Citation. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/citation
If an author is listed, as is the case in many encyclopedias and some specialist dictionaries, include this in the normal author position. When an online reference work lists a specific edition, this information can also be included and its publication date listed:
Graham, G. (2019). Behaviorism. In E.N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Summer 2019 ed.). Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2019/entries/behaviorism/
Note that the format is slightly different when you want to cite Wikipedia.
How to cite a print dictionary
Citing from a print dictionary differs in that you’ll always be using a specific edition with a publication date, so this information should appear in your citation:
Print dictionaries still don’t usually list authors, although in some specialist dictionaries and encyclopedias an author may be listed. In this case, include it at the beginning of the citation.
In-text citations for dictionaries
For in-text citations with no author and date, place the title of the entry in quotation marks, and use “n.d.” in place of a missing date:
If an author or date is listed, include these as in a standard APA in-text citation:
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