It is helpful to consult subject-specific dictionaries when you need to understand the terminology that is used in a particular discipline.

The best way to locate subject-specific dictionaries in a library’s catalog is to do a keyword search by combining a term related to your topic with the truncated phrase “dictionar*” (for example, psychology dictionar* or social work dictionar*). If you do a subject search, you will need to put the term “dictionaries” at the end of your subject term (for example, Psychology–Dictionaries).

Following is a selected list of print and online dictionaries related to the social sciences.Clicking on the title of one of the print entries will take you to the Case Western Reserve University online catalog entry. You may also find it useful to check out this site’s section on thesauri for information on choosing concepts and synonyms.

Available on Campus

Note: Please click on the link to the Library Catalog for call number, location, and availability.

Accardo, P .J., & Whitman, B. J. (1996). Dictionary of developmental disabilities terminology. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brooks.

Agnes, M. (Ed.-in-chief). (2002). Webster’s New World college dictionary (4th Ed., [updated]). Cleveland, OH: Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Ahia, C. E. (2009). Legal and ethical dictionary for mental health professionals (2nd ed.). Lanham, MD: University Press of America

Barker, R. L. (2003). Social work dictionary (5th ed). Washington, DC: NASW Press.

Bolaffi, G., Bracalenti, R., Braham, P., & Gindro, S. (Eds.). (2003).
Dictionary of race, ethnicity and culture. London; Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Campbell, R. J. (2009). Campbell’s psychiatric dictionary (9th ed.). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.

Calhoun, C. (Ed.). (2002). Dictionary of the social sciences. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. [Also available ONLINE]

Collins, J. W., & O’Brien, N. P. (Eds.). (2011). The Greenwood dictionary of education (2nd ed.). Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood.

Corsini, R.J. (1999). Dictionary of psychology. Philadelphia, PA: Brunner/Mazel.

Feldesman, W. (2000). Dictionary of eldercare terminology (2nd ed.). Baltimore, MD : National Information Services Corp.

Hersen, M., & Bellack, A. S. (Eds.). (1988). Dictionary of behavioral assessment techniques. New York: Pergamon Press.

Hopkins, B. R. (1994). Nonprofit law dictionary. New York: Wiley.

Johnson, A. G. (1995). The Blackwell dictionary of sociology: a user’s guide to sociological language. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. [ Also available ONLINE.]

Moskowitz, H. S., & Lindbloom, C. G. (1993). The new illustrated book of development definitions. New Brunswick, NJ: Center for Urban Policy Research.

Rosenthal, H. (2003). Human services dictionary . New York: Brunner-Routledge.

Sauber, S. R. et al. (Eds.). (1993). The dictionary of family psychology and family therapy (2nd ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Schwandt, T. A. (2001). Dictionary of qualitative inquiry (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Smith, D. H., Stebbins, R. A., & Dover, M. A. (2006). A dictionary of nonprofit terms and concepts. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Spicker, P., Leguizamon, S. A., & Gordon, D. (Eds.). (2007). Poverty: An international glossary (2nd ed.). London; New York: Zed Books; distributed by Palgrave Macmillan.

Thomas, M., & Pierson, J. (2010). Dictionary of social work. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press.

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Online Dictionaries

American Heritage Dictionary Of The English Language (4th ed.)

Take a look at this online lexicon! This site is a dictionary, encyclopedia, and thesaurus all “rolled into one.” A new feature just added is the audio word pronunciations available when using the dictionary. Type in a word and listen to the pronunciation.

Medline PLUS Medical Dictionaries

A service of the National Library of Medicine this site includes a variety of dictionaries, encyclopedias and other sources covering a variety of health, medical, and drug related information.

Mental Health Dictionary

This online dictionary is the work of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Mental Health Information Center.

Merriam-Webster Online

Your standard desktop dictionary turned into an online electronic version. Also included at this site is the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus. A new feature just added is the audio word pronunciations available when using the dictionary. Type in a word and listen to the pronunciation. Want to increase your vocabulary? Don’t forget to check out the Word of the Day when you visit.

Online Dictionary of the Social Sciences

Produced by Athabasca University in Canada, this social science dictionary has 1000 entriescovering the disciplines of sociology, criminology, political science, and women’s studies with a commitment to Canadian examples and events and names.

WWW Virtual Library

This site lists a variety of general and specialized dictionaries including foreign
languages. Additional online sources covered are encyclopaedias, almanacs, directories, biographical, geographical, and statistical information sources.

Your dictionary.com

A website dedicated to dictionaries including specialized, rhyming and multi-lingual
dictionaries. This site also includes a thesaurus, glossaries and encyclopedias.

Note: Don’t forget to check our Ready Reference Dictionaries web page.

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