from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A comprehensive reference work containing articles on a wide range of subjects or on numerous aspects of a particular field, usually arranged alphabetically.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A comprehensive reference work (often spanning several printed volumes) with in-depth articles (usually arranged in alphabetical order, or sometimes arranged by category) on a range of subjects, sometimes general, sometimes limited to a particular field.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The circle of arts and sciences; a comprehensive summary of knowledge, or of a branch of knowledge; esp., a work in which the various branches of science or art are discussed separately, and usually in alphabetical order; a cyclopedia.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The circle of sciences; a general system of instruction in several or all departments of knowledge.
- n. Specifically A work in which the various topics included under several or all branches of knowledge are treated separately, and usually in alphabetical order.
- n. In a narrower sense, a cyclopedia. See cyclopedia
- n. Abbreviated enc., ency., encyc.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a reference work (often in several volumes) containing articles on various topics (often arranged in alphabetical order) dealing with the entire range of human knowledge or with some particular specialty
Medieval Latin encyclopaedia, general education course, from alteration of Greek enkuklios paideia, general education : enkuklios, circular, general; + paideia, education (from pais, paid-, child).(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin encyclopaedia, from Ancient Greek ἐγκύκλιος παιδεία (enkuklios paideia, "the circle of arts and sciences, curriculum"), from ἐγκύκλιος (enkuklios, "circular, rounded, round"), from κύκλος (kuklos, "circle") + παιδεία (paideia, "the rearing of a child, education"), from παιδίον (paidion, "child"). (Wiktionary)