A Call for Better Dictionaries

Have you ever tried studying a new area? There you are knowing very little of the specialised language, and you can very quickly find yourself bombarded with a lot of terms.

Suppose you are trying to understand what “thoracic vertebrae” are. If you look up the term, you are likely to see that they are the vertebrae between the cervical vertebrae and the lumbar vertebrae, and now, you have two more terms to clear up! This can get lengthy.

Many dictionaries use the same old format: lists of words and their definitions with the odd, small picture. As an orientation, a large, labelled picture with a lot of the term in an area would help. That way, no matter which term you enter with, you can quickly see how it relates to the other related terms.

An entry might look like:
thoracic vertbrae: usual definition here. See picture The Human Skeleton on page n. etymology here.
and on page n, there is a nice picture that clears things up. For a hardcopy dictionary, these pictures could be combined into one section and printed on better-quality paper that shows detail well.

That would work better for me. How about you?