Logos Multilingual Portal

15 - Other online dictionaries

"we may say that the representation effected by the dream-work, which was never even intended to be understood, does not impose upon the translator any greater difficulties than those that the ancient writers of hieroglyphics imposed upon their readers"1.

Another very useful function of the Logos Dictionary consists in the possibility of accessing definitions of words it contains just as you do in monolingual dictionaries. Since it is a multilingual dictionary, however, a definition is given for each of the languages present. Here is a practical example:

I search in the dictionary for the word "casa". I see a page containing the translation of "casa" in a very long series of languages:

As you may notice, there are 108 translations of "casa", some of which have a light green square with the letter "L" by the word. Precisely, in this case there is a definition in eighteen of the languages. Of course that depends on the fact that until now no user-coauthor has had the possibility to insert the definition in her own language for the remaining ninety languages.

If we click on the L near the word "house", we read this definition: "A structure serving as a dwelling for one or more persons". The same we can do for the other available languages:

casa Costruzione eretta dell'uomo per abitarvi.

casa Lugar construido bajo condiciones de habitabilidad

maison Bâtiment destiné au logement

дом Здание, строение, предназначенное для жилья

shtëpi Ndërtesë e lartë e njeriut për të banuar

etxe Sukaldean, sua dagoen tokia

dum konstrukce, postavena někým za účelem bydlení

domo Konstruo por homloĝado

talo Asumista varten oleva rakennus. Koti: paikka, jossa henkilö asuu

casa Construción erixida por alguén para habitar nela

haz állandó lakóhelynek való épület

dom Budynek mieszkalny wzniesiony przez człowieka


кућа Објекат за становање

dom Budova urèená na bývanie ludí

In this way, for the languages where it is available, the Logos Dictionary is a sort of dictionary having the same versatility of a multilingual but with the added advantage of having the same precision in its definitions of a monolingual reference.

Let us see now other online dictionaries freely accessible on the internet.

A very interesting site is Bartleby (from the name of the character of the well-known story by Melville), at the address www.bartleby.com. It is a search engine connected to many reference works: Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. 2001. The Encyclopedia of World History, 6th ed. 2001. The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, 3rd ed. 2002. The Columbia Gazetteer of North America. 2000. The World Factbook. 2003. American Heritage(r) Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed. 2000. Roget's II: The New Thesaurus, 3rd ed. 1995. Roget's International Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases. 1922 Bartlett, John. 1919. Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. The Columbia World of Quotations. 1996. Simpson's Contemporary Quotations. 1988. Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989. American Heritage(r) Book of English Usage. 1996 The Columbia Guide to Standard American English. 1993. Fowler, H. W. 1908. The King's English, 2nd ed. Mencken, H.L. 1921. The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of Quiller-Couch, Sir Arthur. 1916. On the Art of Writing. Quiller-Couch, Sir Arthur. 1920. On the Art of Writing. Sapir, Edward. 1921. Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech. Strunk, William, Jr. 1918. The Elements of Style. The Bible. 1999. King James Version. Brewer, E. Cobham. 1898. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Bulfinch, Thomas. 1913. The Age of Fable. Frazer, Sir James George. 1922. The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion, Abridged ed. Cambridge History of English & American Literature (18 vols.). 1907-21. Eliot, Charles W., ed. 1909-17. The Harvard Classics and Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction. Eliot, T.S. 1920. The Sacred Wood. Shakespeare, William. 1914. The Oxford Shakespeare. Van Doren, Carl. 1921. The American Novel. Gray, Henry. 1918. Anatomy of the Human Body, 20th ed. Farmer, Fannie Merritt. 1918. The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. Post, Emily. 1922. Etiquette. Robert, Henry M. 1915. Robert's Rules of Order Revised. Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States. 1989. Bryan, William Jennings, ed. 1906. The World's Famous Orations.

If you insert a word in the search engine grid, the engine automatically routes your search towards the works that can answer your query. If, for example, I insert in the grid the adjective "highfalutin", I get this result:







or hi·fa·lu·tin also high·fa·lu·ting (-ltn, -ltng)


Informal Pompous or pretentious: "highfalutin reasons for denying direct federal assistance to the unemployed" (Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.).


Origin unknown.


H.L. Mencken, in his famous book The American Language, mentions highfalutin as an example of the many native U.S. words coined during the 19th-century period of vigorous growth. Although highfalutin is characteristic of American folk speech, it is not a true regionalism because it has always occurred in all regions of the country, with its use and popularity spurred by its appearance in print. The origin of highfalutin, like that of many folk expressions, is obscure. It has been suggested that the second element, -falutin, comes from the verb flute-hence high-fluting, a comical indictment of people who think too highly of themselves

Clicking on the loudspeaker icon, I can also listen to the correct pronunciation of the word, which is very useful. In this case, the definition is from the American heritage Dictionary. Let us now suppose the I have to decode the sentence "pride before a fall" found in a U.S. contemporary novel. Although the meaning of the single words is transparent enough. I realize that it must be an implicit quotation, but I don't understand where from. Let us see which results I get to if I insert such a string in the Bartleby search engine:

1) Pride goeth before a fall. The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. 2002
...Pride goeth before a fall People who are overconfident or too arrogant are likely to fail. This saying is adapted from the biblical Book of Proverbs. 1...

2) 51873. Shakespeare, William. The Columbia World of Quotations. 1996
...NUMBER:51873 QUOTATION:Pride must have a fall. ATTRIBUTION:William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. King Richard, in Richard II, act 5, sc. 5, l....

3) To God and Ireland True by Ellen O'Leary. Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. 1895. A Victorian Anthology, 1837-1895
...in the prison died, And though my tears fall thick and fast I think of him with pride: Ay, softly fall my tears like dew, 5 For one to God and Ireland true. I love...

4) 1079. A Conjecture by Charles Francis Richardson. Stedman, Edmund Clarence, ed. 1900. An American Anthology, 1787-1900
...erewhile, by Trojan wall 5 Had fiercely fought for Grecian glory, Beheld the pride of Priam fall, And home in Athens told the story, Whether we, wandering in the...

5) 366. Shepherd Boy sings in the Valley of Humiliation. John Bunyan. The Oxford Book of English Verse
...HE that is down needs fear no fall, He that is low, no pride; He that is humble ever shall Have God to be his guide. I am content with what I have, 5 Little be it...

6) Ezekiel 30. The Holy Bible: King James Version.
...fall with them by the sword. 6 ¶ Thus saith the LORD; They also that uphold Egypt shall fall; and the pride of her power shall come down: from the tower of Sy-e'ne...

7) 1 Timothy 3. The Holy Bible: King James Version.
...how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have...

8) 624. The Columbia World of Quotations. 1996
...NUMBER:624 QUOTATION:Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. ATTRIBUTION:Bible: Hebrew Proverbs, 16:18....

Results are very satisfying. If I now want to check how is the Italian version of this near-quotation taken from Proverbs 16:18, I can connect to the Bible Gateway site (http://bible.gospelcom.net/), containing the Bible and the Evangel in many tongues, with a powerful search engine. It gives me two possibility to search: by keyword or by passage. If I know the passade, as in my case, I can insert "Proverbs 16:18 and I get the version I need:

Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.

If I want the Italian version, I click on the window stating the language, I choose "italiano", and I get:

Prima della rovina viene l'orgoglio e prima della caduta lo spirito altero

And this is the CEI version. If I choose the La nuova Diodati version, I get:

Prima della rovina viene l'orgoglio, e prima della caduta lo spirito altero

Now I have all the data that I need to go on with my translation choices.

In the next unit we'll go on examining online resources for translators.


Bibliographical references

Bartleby, available on the world wide net, http://www.bartleby.com/. Consulted 17 March 2004.

Bible Gateway, available on the world wide net, http://bible.gospelcom.net/. Consulted 17 March 2004.

FREUD SIGMUND L'interpretazione dei sogni in Opere vol. 3 Torino Boringhieri a cura di C. L. Musatti 1966.

FREUD SIGMUND The Interpretation Of Dreams translated by A. A. Brill London G. Allen & company 1913.

Logos Dictionary, disponibile nel world wide web, http://www.logosdictionary.org, consultato il 27 marzo 2004.

1 Freud 1900: 309.