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M-W Collegiate

Posted by GPP on August 26, 2003

In Reply to: M-W2: also see posted by GPP on August 13, 2003

: : Does "M-W2" refer to the big old Websters 2nd international?

: BTW, janes_kid, you'll also be interested in checking out the link "Don't Look It Up" posted 12 Aug by Word Camel in the original posting "Dis? McJob? All in the new edition of Webster's Dictionary..." This is why I still rely on my M-W2. I believe the last M-W Collegiate based on the 2nd Unabridged was 1956; it doesn't state an edition number, but the copyright page lists eight prior editions, and as I recall, the 10th Ed was the first to be based on the 3rd Unabridged. After nearly 50 years you might be SOL trying to find a copy of either the M-W2 or the unnumbered "9th" or an earlier Collegiate without paying BIG bucks. I didn't do a thorough search, but didn't return any hits just now for either one.

: Question for everyone: I haven't looked at any OED for centuries, other than my 1934 Onions Shorter OED--what is Oxford's current stance in the prescriptive/descriptive wars?

It turns out that I am wrong about "the unnumbered '9th'" edition of M-W Collegiate. I've since found a copy of the M-W New Collegiate Dictionary, 9th Ed, which as I recall without having written it down at the time was (c) 1983; this 'New Collegiate 9th Ed' is based on M-W3, not on M-W2. I haven't tried to research the question, but it's my impression that Merriam has been a little haphazard over the years, both in the numbering of subsequent editions, and in their use of the word 'New'. In any case, if you are looking for a copy of the old 'prescriptive' dictionary that was succeeded by their 'descriptive' "3rd New International Unabridged", you'll need to find one published prior to 1961, the original date of publication of M-W3. M-W2 originally came out in 1934.