or en·cy·clo·pae·di·a

[ en-sahy-kluh-pee-dee-uh ]
/ ɛnˌsaɪ kləˈpi di ə /


a book, set of books, optical disc, mobile device, or online informational resource containing articles on various topics, usually in alphabetical arrangement, covering all branches of knowledge or, less commonly, all aspects of one subject.
(initial capital letter) the French work edited by Diderot and D'Alembert, published in the 18th century, distinguished by its representation of the views of the Enlightenment.

Origin of encyclopedia

1525–35; < New Latin encyclopaedia < Greek enkyklopaidía, a misreading of enkýklios paideía circular (i.e., well-rounded) education. See encyclical, pedo-1

Example sentences from the Web for encyclopedia

British Dictionary definitions for encyclopedia



/ (ɛnˌsaɪkləʊˈpiːdɪə) /


a book, often in many volumes, containing articles on various topics, often arranged in alphabetical order, dealing either with the whole range of human knowledge or with one particular subject a medical encyclopedia

Word Origin for encyclopedia

C16: from New Latin encyclopaedia, erroneously for Greek enkuklios paideia general education, from enkuklios general (see encyclical), + paideia education, from pais child