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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 ?
Another book on the Harlem Renaissance, bearing the same title, the Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance (edited by Cary D.
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