Dictionaries and encyclopedias

Databases

French language encyclopedia similar in scope to Encyclopedia Britannica. Content from more than 7,000 authors.

Access:

In the library and at home with your BPL card.

Authoritive definitions for more than 500,000 words. Traces the historical usage and meaning of terms, with more than 2.5 million quotations.

Access:

In the library and at home with your BPL card.

Recommended websites

English dictionaries | Foreign-language dictionaries | General encyclopedias | Subject-specific encyclopedias

English dictionaries

Search for acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms, with more than 750,000 definitions.

America's biggest English dictionary.  Includes an integrated thesaurus, the etymology of each word, and audio files to help with pronunciation.

For words you won't find in the OED, Webster's or Roget's. The words on this site are made-up words that
"regular" people use every day.

Find rhyming words, synonyms, anonyms, homophones, and more. Great for writing poetry, song lyrics, greeting cards and more.

Hundreds of dictionaries, thesauri and glossaries available on many different specialty subjects.

A thesaurus where English nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are organized into synonym sets, with antonyms, hypernyms, hyponyms and meronyms.

Foreign-language dictionaries

Directory of many different Chinese, Chinese-English and character dictionaries. Mostly Mandarin, but also includes Japanese and Korean resources.

Directory of hundreds of single- and dual-language glossaries online, many on specialized topics.

Translate passages, websites and documents from one language to another. Includes more than 70 languages. Google account holders can save phrases to a personal phrasebook for later reference.

Access more than 400 dictionaries, thesauri and grammar resources in more than 130 languages.

General encyclopedias

Canada's premier encyclopedia, includes interactive maps, graphs, quizzes and student guides.

An almanac, encyclopedia, atlas, dictionary and more providing factual information on current and historical events.  Includes timelines, quizzes and slideshows.

Still considered by many to be among the best encyclopedias of all time, the 11th edition of this classic had many of it's articles written by the leading experts of the time, such as Henry Ford, and represents the sum of human knowledge at the beginning of the 20th century.

Check today's weather or get a two-month long range forecast, view historical weather patterns, and more.

See which historical births, deaths and events happened on a particular day of the year.

The world's biggest user-created encyclopedia. Use with caution, but an amazing resource and excellent starting point. Check the references used and suggested further links at the bottom of each article.

Subject-specific encyclopedias

The web's most comprehensive resource about birds of North America, created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  Find birds by their common name or taxonomic order.  Gives their physical description, habitat, behaviour, conservation status, cool facts, and more.Photographs, video and sound clips, and maps are included for each bird.

Provides access to information on amphibian declines, conservation, natural history, and taxonomy. Currently covers some 6,600 species from around the world and includes maps, sound and video files where available.

Seach for artists by name, nationality, subject, medium, or movement, or search for artworks or galleries/museums.  Results point to where these artists/works can be viewed online.

The history of Canada through the words of those who lived it. Integrates narrative text with primary source documents and is searchable by document and theme – constitutional history, Aboriginal treaties, pioneers and immigrants. In French and English.

Covering Canada's first 100 years, from 1867 to 1967, this premiere annual publication charts Canada's history and development with pictures, graphs, statistical tables and sound clips about the land, people, economy and government of Canada.

Provides full and authoritative information on the entire cycle of Catholic interests, action and doctrine. Also includes Popes Through the Ages, with detailed biographies of all 266 popes of the Roman Catholic Church from 32 AD to the present.

Find the chemical and physical properties on more than 30,000 mostly organic compounds. Search by common and trademarked names and properties.

Chronology of every spaceflight by all nations, an A-to-Z subject guide, descriptions and specifications of spacecraft, and biographies of astronauts and cosmonauts.

Some 3,000 articles covering all aspects of music in Canada from this prestigious publication are available in French and English.

An interactive encyclopedia of traditional house styles, from the early vernacular, Edwardian and Victorian style homes, to the craftsman bungalow, to the west coast modern home and the Vancouver special. Includes information on architectural elements and traditional materials used in construction, with detailed illustrations, colour photos of local examples, and a glossary of terms.

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