Encyclopedias and dictionaries

Encyclopedias and dictionaries are referenced in a similar format to books.

Article in an encyclopedia

Reference list – print example

Connor, M . (2001). Health behaviors. In N. J. Smelser & P. B. Baltes (Eds.), International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences (Vol. 10, pp. 6506–6512). Elsevier Science.

Reference list – electronic examples

Blatt, G. (2021). Autism. In Encyclopædia Britannica. Britannica Group. Retrieved October 28, 2019, from https://www.britannica.com/science/autism

Kirk, R. (2019). Zombies. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Spring 2019 ed.). Stanford University. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2019/entries/zombies/

Royal, T. A. C. (2005). Story: Māori creation traditions. In Te ara: The encyclopedia of New Zealand. Manatū Taonga–Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved August 5, 2020, from https://teara.govt.nz/en/maori-creation-traditions

  • Include the DOI, or if there is no DOI, a URL that will work for all readers.
  • Include a retrieval date if entries are updated over time and not archived.
  • For The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, click the “Author and Citation Info” link on the article webpage to get the URL and article details for the archived version. As articles are archived in this encyclopedia, a retrieval date is not required.

In-text citations

Blatt (2021) OR (Blatt, 2021)
Connor (2001) ... OR (Connor, 2001)
Kirk (2019, Are Zombies Conceivable? section) OR (Kirk, 2019, Are Zombies Conceivable? section)
Royal (2005, p. 3) ... OR (Royal, 2005, p. 3)

  • Articles in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy are unpaginated, but sections headings – using title case capitalisation – can be used to indicate the part of the article.
  • Articles in the Te Ara encyclopedia are typically paginated. If you use only a part of an article, you may choose to help your reader locate it by giving the page number in the in-text citation.

Entry in a dictionary

Print examples

Johnson, A. G. (2000). Capitalism. In The Blackwell dictionary of sociology: A user’s guide to sociological language (2nd ed., pp. 31–33). Blackwell Publishers.

Oxford University Press. (1997). Huntaway. In H. W. Orsman (Ed.), The dictionary of New Zealand English: A dictionary of New Zealandisms on historical principles (p. 366).

  • Often – as in the Oxford University Press reference above – dictionaries do not have individual authors but are group projects. In that situation, a group author in the form of the publisher name is appropriate in the author position (APA Style Experts, personal communication, September 17, 2021).
  • See also Entry in a Print Dictionary on the APA Style website.

Electronic examples

Moorfield, J. C. (n.d.). Kaitiakitanga. In Māori dictionary: Te aka Māori-English, English-Māori dictionary. Retrieved October 5, 2020, from https://maoridictionary.co.nz/search?idiom=&phrase=&proverb=&loan=&histLoanWords=&keywords=kaitiakitanga

Oxford University Press. (2002). Transnationalism. In C. Calhoun (Ed.), Dictionary of the social sciences. https://doi.org/10.1093/acref/9780195123715.001.0001

Oxford University Press. (2020). Sell, n.1. In M. Proffitt (Chief Ed.), Oxford English dictionary (3rd ed.). Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://www.oed.com/

Oxford University Press. (2021). Semantics. In M. Proffitt (Chief Ed.), Oxford English dictionary (3rd ed.). Retrieved August 27, 2021, from https://www.oed.com/

Scott, J. (2014). Discrimination. In A dictionary of sociology (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acref/9780199683581.001.0001

White, L. J. (2011). Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the crisis in US mortgage finance. In Palgrave Macmillan (Ed.), The new Palgrave dictionary of economics (Living ed., pp. 1–11). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-95121-5_3002-1

  • Often – as in the Oxford University Press references above – dictionaries do not have individual authors but are group projects. In that situation, a group author in the form of the publisher name is appropriate in the author position (APA Style Experts, personal communication, September 17, 2021).
  • Include the DOI or, if there is no DOI, a URL that will work for all readers.
  • As the online Māori Dictionary is continually updated, use ‘n.d.’ as the year of publication instead of website footer dates (such as 2003–2021) and include a retrieval date.
  • Oxford English Dictionary online and similar online dictionaries:
    • The year of the most recent update for the specific entry is the year to use in the reference.
    • The first letter of the entry is capitalised in the reference list, even when it is not in the dictionary.
    • The part of speech does not need to be part of the reference list entry (“semantics” example above; this is a convention of APA Style dictionary entry references). When the part of speech needs to be specified, it can be included in the in-text citation.
      • When there are separate entries for different parts of speech or for homographs, however, include the whole heading in the reference (“sell” example above).
    • The home page URL is used for this source because of the subscription paywall.
    • A retrieval date is needed for the current entry because the Oxford English Dictionary archives only some but not all entries. If you are referencing an earlier, archived entry, omit the retrieval date.
    • This guidance is based on advice from the APA Style Experts (personal communication, September 17–25, 2021).
  • See also Dictionary Entry References on the APA Style website.

In-text citations

Johnson (2000) OR (Johnson, 2000)
Oxford University Press (1997) OR (Oxford University Press, 1997)
Oxford University Press (2002) OR (Oxford University Press, 2002)
Oxford University Press (2020) OR (Oxford University Press, 2020)
Oxford University Press (2021) OR (Oxford University Press, 2021)
Moorfield (n.d., Definition 1) OR (Moorfield, n.d., Definition 1)
Scott (2014) OR (Scott, 2014)
White (2011) OR (White, 2011)

  • When specifying a definition in your narrative, use italics for the first use of key terms or phrases when accompanied by a definition, for example:
    • Kaitiakitanga has been defined as “guardianship, stewardship, trusteeship, trustee” (Moorfield, n.d., Definition 1). Accordingly, kaitiakitanga ...
    • Semantics refers to the “study or analysis of meaning in words, sentences, etc.” (Oxford University Press, 2021, Definition 2a).