Just stumbled upon a question that was looking for a specific word. The one I had in mind was not there, so I thought I add it as an answer.

As all other answers were backed up by links to dictionaries, which appeared to be a good practice I should adopt, I tried to do the same.

On my internet search for the phrase, I stumbled upon some bad online dictionaries like those that machine translate text (or whatever), etc. Then, there was http://en.wiktionary.org/ and I used it.

Now checking other answers I see that they link to dictionaries with more prestigious names that are probably mroe reliable sources. This made me wonder: is wiktionary a good dictionary to link to on this site?

Is there a list here on meta of dictionaries that are considered "good"? I couldn't find any.

  • Could you link the question (that you answered) you are referring to?
    – user3169
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 23:28
  • Does that matter? I'm not really asking for the particular question, but in general. It's this one: ell.stackexchange.com/q/106830/36942
    – shakesbeer
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 23:40
  • Your answer may be a inaccurate, because off the charts wouldn't be used to describe a person. The Wikipedia definition is brief but not incorrect. I would try to find a more detailed definition and definitely some examples to verify the phrase in-context.
    – user3169
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 0:01
  • 1
    I like Wiktionary because it also includes translations for many words, but I would only use it for the most common or easy-to-define words. It's credible, but like any community edited resource it has gaps and inaccuracies. I think different dictionaries excel at different aspects, so usually I end up using thefreedictionary.com which is a consolidator.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 11:44
  • 1
    @user3169 - You don't think off the charts can be used to describe people?
    – J.R. Mod
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 1:48
  • @ColleenV♦ that sounds like an answer. Do you think community edited resources can have an advantage as what they contain is probably more commonly known?
    – shakesbeer
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 8:49
  • 1
    My comment isn't really an answer; it's an observation that you might want to use different dictionaries in different contexts, or use multiple sources. Use your best judgment, and if someone is telling you the reference you chose isn't good, try to understand why, and then refine your answer to either make it clearer or incorporate their feedback. We don't really need the burden of maintaining an approved list if we collaborate instead of beating each other up with "the rules". Be Nice, act in good faith, be open to feedback, and everything will be OK.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 13:58

1 Answer 1


There is a list of resources, including dictionaries, on English Language and Usage Meta that you may find helpful.

To answer your question about Wiktionary: as long as the definition is accurate, I wouldn't criticize or downvote an answer for citing this source. However, in general I think other dictionaries are perceived as more authoritative, so for any definition that seems like it might be controversial, I would seek another source.

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