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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English: A Comprehensive Guide

If you are looking for a reliable and comprehensive dictionary for learners of English, you might want to consider the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (LDOCE). This dictionary is designed to help you understand and use English effectively, whether you are a student, a teacher, a professional or a casual user. In this article, we will introduce you to the features and benefits of LDOCE, show you how to use it online or on DVD-ROM, and explain why it is a great choice for your language learning needs.

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What is Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English?

LDOCE is an advanced learner's dictionary that provides clear and accurate definitions, examples, synonyms, antonyms, collocations, idioms, phrasal verbs, grammar notes, register notes and more for over 230,000 words and phrases. It also includes audio pronunciations, pictures, videos, interactive exercises and quizzes to help you improve your vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar skills.

History and editions of LDOCE

LDOCE was first published in 1978 by Longman, a British publisher that specializes in educational books. It was one of the first dictionaries to use corpus linguistics, which is the study of language based on large collections of real texts. By analyzing how words are used in different contexts and genres, LDOCE aims to reflect the natural and authentic English that people speak and write every day.

Since then, LDOCE has been updated and revised several times to keep up with the changes and developments in the English language. The latest edition is the seventh edition, which was released in 2020. It contains over 165,000 examples from the Longman Corpus Network, which covers a wide range of sources such as books, newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, social media, podcasts and transcripts. It also has an additional 1 million corpus examples on the DVD-ROM version.

Features and benefits of LDOCE

LDOCE has many features and benefits that make it a valuable resource for learners of English. Here are some of them:

  • It covers all levels of English from beginner to advanced, as well as British and American English.

  • It highlights the most frequent words in spoken and written English with a red circle icon. These words are important to know because they account for 80% of all communication.

  • It provides clear definitions using only 2000 common words that are easy to understand.

  • It shows how words are used in different situations and registers (formal or informal) with examples from real texts.

  • It helps you find the right word or expression with synonyms, antonyms and related words.

  • It helps you avoid common errors with grammar and warning notes.

  • It helps you build natural and fluent sentences with collocations (words that often go together).

  • It helps you enrich your vocabulary with idioms (fixed expressions with figurative meanings) and phrasal verbs (verbs with particles).

  • It helps you improve your pronunciation with audio recordings of British and American speakers.

  • It helps you learn visually with pictures, videos and diagrams.

  • It helps you practice and test your knowledge with interactive exercises and quizzes.

How to use Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English?

LDOCE is available in two formats: online and DVD-ROM. You can access the online version for free on the website, or you can buy the DVD-ROM version and install it on your computer. Both versions have similar content and functions, but there are some differences that we will explain below.

Online version

The online version of LDOCE is easy to use and convenient. You can access it from any device with an internet connection, such as a computer, a tablet or a smartphone. You can also bookmark the website or add it to your home screen for quick access. Here are some of the features and functions of the online version:

Website interface and functions

The website has a simple and user-friendly interface that allows you to search for words and phrases, browse the dictionary alphabetically, or explore different topics and categories. You can also change the language of the interface from English to Spanish, Japanese or Korean.

When you search for a word or phrase, you will see the following information:

  • The part of speech (noun, verb, adjective, etc.) and the pronunciation (in British and American English).

  • The definition (or definitions if there are more than one) using simple words.

  • The examples (or example sentences) showing how the word or phrase is used in context.

  • The synonyms, antonyms and related words (if any) that help you find alternative ways of expressing the same idea.

  • The collocations (if any) that show you which words often go together with the word or phrase.

  • The idioms and phrasal verbs (if any) that contain the word or phrase.

  • The grammar and warning notes (if any) that explain the rules and exceptions of using the word or phrase correctly.

  • The register notes (if any) that indicate whether the word or phrase is formal or informal, polite or rude, etc.

  • The pictures, videos and diagrams (if any) that illustrate the meaning or usage of the word or phrase visually.

You can also click on any word or phrase in the definition, example, synonym, antonym, related word, collocation, idiom or phrasal verb to see its entry in the dictionary. This way, you can learn more words and phrases related to your original search.

Word of the day, hot topics and exercises

Besides searching for words and phrases, you can also learn new words and phrases every day by checking out the word of the day feature on the homepage. The word of the day is a random word or phrase that is interesting, useful or relevant to current events. You can see its definition, example, pronunciation and picture, and you can also listen to a podcast episode that explains more about it.

You can also explore different topics and categories on the homepage, such as furniture, navy, communications, birth, family, animals, business, newspapers, printing, publishing and birds. Each topic or category has a list of words and phrases related to it, along with their definitions, examples and pictures. You can click on any word or phrase to see its entry in the dictionary.

Another way to learn new words and phrases is to do some exercises and quizzes on the website. You can find them under the Exercises tab on the homepage. There are different types of exercises and quizzes for different levels of difficulty and different skills. For example, you can do vocabulary exercises to practice synonyms, antonyms, collocations, idioms and phrasal verbs. You can do grammar exercises to practice verb tenses, modal verbs, articles, prepositions and more. You can do pronunciation exercises to practice sounds, stress and intonation. You can do listening exercises to practice comprehension and dictation. You can do reading exercises to practice scanning, skimming and summarizing. You can do writing exercises to practice spelling, punctuation and style. And you can do quizzes to test your overall knowledge of English.

DVD-ROM version

The DVD-ROM version of LDOCE is more comprehensive and interactive than the online version. It contains more content and functions that help you learn English in depth. However, you need to buy it separately from the book version of LDOCE (which is also available), and you need to install it on your computer. Here are some of the features and functions of the DVD-ROM version:

Installation and requirements

To install the DVD-ROM version of LDOCE, you need to have a computer that meets the following requirements:

  • Operating system: Windows 7 or higher, Mac OS X 10.9 or higher

  • Processor: 1 GHz or faster

  • Memory: 1 GB RAM or more

  • Disk space: 4.5 GB or more

  • Screen resolution: 1024 x 768 or higher

  • Sound card and speakers or headphones

  • DVD-ROM drive

  • Internet connection (optional)

You also need to have the book version of LDOCE (seventh edition) to activate the DVD-ROM. You can buy the book and the DVD-ROM together as a pack, or you can buy them separately. If you buy them separately, you need to make sure that they are both from the same edition.

To install the DVD-ROM, you need to follow these steps:

  • Insert the DVD-ROM into your computer's DVD-ROM drive.

  • Wait for the installation window to appear. If it does not appear automatically, open My Computer (or Finder on Mac) and double-click on the DVD-ROM icon.

  • Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the installation.

  • When prompted, enter the activation code that is printed on the inside front cover of your book.

  • Click Finish to exit the installation window.

  • To start using the DVD-ROM, double-click on the LDOCE icon on your desktop (or in your Applications folder on Mac).

Content and functions

The DVD-ROM version of LDOCE has more content and functions than the online version. Here are some of them:

  • It contains over 230,000 words and phrases, plus an additional 1 million corpus examples that show how words are used in real texts.