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a walking dictionary

A person who has a very large vocabulary or knows the definition of many words and who can recite them when asked. You should ask my brother what it means—he's a walking dictionary! Compared to most sixteen-year-olds, Sarah is a walking dictionary. She must read a lot in her spare time.
See also: dictionary, walking

a walking encyclopedia

A person who has a very large and detailed knowledge of a diverse array of facts and who can recite them when asked. Lily's like a walking encyclopedia when it comes to reptiles.

walking encyclopedia

A very knowledgeable person, as in Ask Rob-he's a walking encyclopedia of military history. A similar expression, a walking dictionary, was used by George Chapman in his poem "Tears of Peace" (c. 1600).

a walking dictionary


a walking encyclopedia

If you describe someone as a walking dictionary or a walking encyclopedia, you mean that they know a lot of words or facts. She raised five of us on her own and she's a walking dictionary. He was a walking encyclopedia of music, full of wit and charm. Note: People sometimes use other words instead of dictionary or encyclopedia. He's a walking database on anything relating to insurance.
See also: dictionary, walking

a walking ˈdictionary, encycloˈpedia, etc.

(informal) used to describe a human or living example of the thing mentioned: Geoff is a walking encyclopedia. He knows about everything.She’s a walking dictionary (= she knows a lot of words).
See also: walking

walking encyclopedia, a

An extremely knowledgeable individual. The term likens a person to a huge amalgamation of learning. One of the earliest versions of this cliché occurred in the poem “Tears of Peace” by George Chapman (ca. 1559–1634): “And let a scholar all Earth’s volumes carry, He will be but a walking dictionary.” In Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women (1869) Meg speaks admiringly of a man she considers “a walking encyclopedia.”
See also: walking
References in periodicals archive ?
Encyclopedias are in fact historical documents of the era in which they were compiled.
Collier's Encyclopedia was last printed in 1998, Encyclopedia Americana in 2006.
Moreover some 700 articles were specially compiled for the encyclopedia he added, and said," Our main priority was considering national culture.
The three disputed paragraphs make up one page of the total of 1,800 pages in this encyclopedia," Stardelov said.
The encyclopedia has benefitted from an army of top-notch workers, helmed as it is by Professor Middleton and four associate editors (Michael Church, Mario Coniglio, Lawrence Hardie, and Frederick Longstaffe) and anchored by an impressive roster of authors, the names of many of whom will bring nods of agreement at the propriety of their having been chosen to contribute.
There are many other specialized encyclopedias on the Web.
While an encyclopedia is a tertiary source (and therefore often overlooked by scholars), it is important to give it due respect as an excellent starting point for novices in the search for information.
Hans Hinrich Biesterfeldt ("Medieval Arabic Encyclopedias of Science and Philosophy," pp.
It traces the history of the word from the Greeks and Romans through Diderot and the founders of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and also tells the history of compilations of knowledge from Plutarch to Isidore of Seville to Antonio Zara, bishop of Petina in Istria (though these works were not called encyclopedias, a word that was not used in a book title until the sixteenth century).
While the encyclopedia section isn't as comprehensive or as well designed as Encarta's, the Journal section, with its easy access to articles on current events, makes this product well worth considering in both public and school libraries.
Dance Magazine has devoted an unprecedented three reviews, by Glenn Giffin, Octavio Roca, and Clive Barnes, to The International Encyclopedia of Dance (IED) [January, page 73, February, page 66, March, page 94].
The aim of an encyclopedia is to gather together the knowledge scattered over the face of the earth, to set forth its general plan to the men with whom we live and to transmit it to the men who will come after us, in order that the labors of past centuries may not have been in vain .
Some educated themselves in public libraries by reading encyclopedias.
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