Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!

Home > Literacy and English > Reading > Dictionaries

Finding information in a dictionary

Each piece of information in a dictionary is called an 'entry', and the entries are arranged alphabetically.

For example, in an English dictionary you'll find words beginning with a at the front, and z at the back. Because there are lots of words beginning with a, the words are organised alphabetically according to the letters that follow the a. For example, the word alphabet will come before animal because the second letter l comes before the letter n. If the second letter in each word is the same, look at the third letters. The word ant will come afterankle because although the first two letters are the same, the third letter is different, and t comes after k in the alphabet.

To find the word 'sunny', start by finding words beginning with s, then su, then sun until you eventually narrow it down to sunny.

A person looking up the word Sunny in a dictionary

 

Electronic dictionaries

The most widely used electronic dictionaries are found on the internet. Finding a word is easy, you type the word into a search box, press 'enter', and the results are shown. The results will tell you everything a printed dictionary does. There is often also an option to hear how the word is pronounced (what it sounds like).

You can still browse through each letter if you want to.

More from Dictionaries:

Play Watch Quiz

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.