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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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Unlike reference sources that skim the surface, some of the state encyclopedias provide an in-depth examination of processes and products distinct to their state.
This wisdom might suggest that had the two encyclopedias been written in the same spirit, the historical moments were still different.
As of this writing, it contained more than 3.8 million articles in English, compared to Encyclopedia Britannica's 66,000 articles.
Although variability in these matters does not detract excessively from the encyclopedia's overall usefulness, it does mean that some entries are more helpful than others.
Unlike the Latin encyclopedias, which "were made possible by the translations into Latin of the Aristotelian corpus, the Hebrew ones preceded the Hebrew translations" (p.
For an example, let us return to the Chinese encyclopedias. The eleventh edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, in its article on Chinese literature (a subsection of the article on China) says the following about a Chinese encyclopedia, the T'u Shu Chi Ch'eng, which sounds a good bit tike the encyclopedia mentioned in the essay on John Wilkins.
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].
"We've created this product to offer the best value to our customers in the marketplace with the leading name in encyclopedias -- Webster's," said Greg James, president of Countertop Software.
Reference software publishers have dusted off their latest interactive encyclopedias in time for the back-to-school season.
Some educated themselves in public libraries by reading encyclopedias. They knew that education was critically important to their future, that schools held no monopoly over learning, and that they themselves were responsible for the pursuit of knowledge.
"Moreover German and English encyclopedias hold their own insights while we wanted to release an encyclopedia which would indicate the insight's of Iranians as well as their scientific capabilities," he added.
Encyclopedias traditionally have been regarded as second-rate sources of information, collections of summaries short on depth and authority, works you'd be embarrassed to cite in an academic paper or business presentation.
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