a walking encyclopedia

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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 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 ?
The Encylopaedia Britannica articles by Bousset that Borges talks about are chock full of Gnostic "lore," a mother-lode of inspiration for Ficciones and El Aleph, whose pages pullulate with Gnosticism.
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The laughable results were revealed yesterday in a survey of 500 people by Encylopaedia Britannica.
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That approach might be all very well for people with years of experience, whose heads are already an encylopaedia of plants.
Derived from the multi-volume International Encylopaedia of Laws, this monograph by Kryvoi (a lawyer with the dispute resolution department of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London, UK) describes the organization and activities of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, a constituent organization of the World Bank Group that provides facilities for the arbitration for disputes between member countries and individual investors.
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Derived from the multivolume International Encylopaedia of Laws, this volume is an analytical introduction to contract law in the United States.
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Elizabeth Kraft's investigation into Charlotte Smith's The Young Philosopher and the contemporary desire for encylopaedias is enlightening.
In this form of presentation, it greatly differs from the Oxford Companions which are arranged like dictionaries or encylopaedias, with short descriptions of persons and topics in alphabetical order.