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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My first 'proper' dictionary, many years ago, was the "Chambers 20th Century", of which this is the successor. I loved that dictionary, and I love this one, because I am fascinated by the English language - where it comes from, how it changes and evolves, and all the little idiosyncracies and curlicues that result.

In addition to the main dictionary itself, Chambers throws in the following:
- At the start, a short introductory "history of English" and observations on the global varieties of English which are now exerting ever more influence
- In the middle, some entertainment in the form of:
(a) Some miscellaneous lists of particularly evocative, obscure, interesting words
(b) 2-3 letter words for use in Scrabble
(c) Help in decoding cryptic crossword clues
- At the end, some useful reference information, including Periodic table, Beaufort scale for wind speed, champagne bottle sizes, etc.

However, the main delight remains the dictionary. The layout is clear and the font size not too small to be readable. On many pages you will find a shaded box highighting a particularly notable or interesting word. And the definitions are written with a clarity, brevity and wit that would make Samuel Johnson proud. I checked, and my personal favourite is still there:

eclair: a cake, long in shape but short in duration

In terms of the book itself, it smacks of quality throughout:
- Beautifully bound - when the paper dust-jacket rips (as it eventually will, with use) you have classy plain red boards with gold-stamped writing on the spine
- The spine is bound separately from the cover, so that the book naturally lies flat, open at whatever page has been chosen, without any damage. I have tested this from the first page to the last, and it works everywhere
- The paper is very thin, to reduce the thickness and weight over the overall book, but strong and crisp. It is slightly translucent, similar to some Bibles, but the printing is so clear and well laid out that the minor "show through" from the reverse is not a problem.
- a simple ribbon book mark is built-in

If you do not own a decent dictionary, or if your existing one is getting a bit tired and dishevelled, get this one. There is no better on the market for this price.
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on 8 September 2011
This is the latest dictionary by Chambers. It offers a great selection of words and phrases over 1832 pages. In the centre of the book, there is a "Word Lover's Miscellany", an additional 64 pages of lots of different things: e.g. "50 words to surprise you", "25 words for intriguing things" or "66 formal words or familiar things" and many, many more.

With my last Chambers dictionary dating from 1995, sixteen years of development in the English language are certainly visible. The 2011 edition even features a list of out of use words that were deleted.
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on 20 October 2011
I have not owned many dictionaries before. Certainly I have never bought my own. So I am not an expert.

Nevertheless I think this one is awesome! Its B I G. It has loads of cool stuff planted in the middle (eg. lists of cool sounding words, words to treasure, good words for insults, top slang words etc).

In terms of being really comprehensive - it even has a definition for the word "tokoloshe", including its native spelling!

Large and in charge!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 October 2011
110 years after the first edition the Chambers Dictionary, 12th edition published this year continues to show why it is a leader in the field. As with previous editions, there is a concise but useful short history of the English language, followed by a brief account of the varieties of English - British, American, Australian, Canadian, and also English in South Africa and India. A two-page guide on how to use this dictionary is very useful, as is the two-page spelling guide. The pronunciation chart produces the full and comprehensive range of pronunciation using symbols and examples that are extremely easy to understand, and thus one is able to pronounce a difficult word confidently using this chart. There is a simplified version running in one line at the bottom of every page. In the majority of cases, this version would be adequate.

Chambers usually maintains definitions of words not found in other dictionaries, for example, "Antisyzygy", "noun. a union of opposites" is not found even in the Shorter Oxford. Neither is "Antiphrasis". As an example of the style and quality of definitions used, Chambers defines "sophisticate" as "vt to give a fashionable air of worldly wisdom to; to make (eg a machine) highly complex and efficient; to make sophistic; to adulterate, falsify. vi to practise sophistry. n a sophisticated person. adj old) sophisticated." Chambers defines "talion" as (legal hist) n like for like; retaliation." The Shorter Oxford defines it as "Retaliation". The user will also find numerous "starred words" that is, words such as "abbot of unreason" highlighted in boxes marked with a star. These are words that have gone out of use but which the editors believe retain a charm that might see them used again.

Finally, the 12th edition introduces a fascinating 64-page "Word Lover's Miscellany" describing lists of "weasel words", "27 cringeworthy words", "66 formal words for familiar things"; and a wordgame companion that has a list of two-letter words for wordgames, words with "J, Q, X, and Z". This dictionary is useful, pleasant, and fun to use.
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on 23 September 2011
If, like me, you love crosswords and word games, this is the book for you. It contains a whole goldmine of useful words and definitions, some of them are rather humorous (Check out Mullet).

It's the Bible of many crossword setters, and not hard to see why. There's a nice supplement which contains all sorts of interesting word facts and feats, including a list of useful two letter words to use in Scrabble and other word games.

A superb product and one that should be on your bookshelf.
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on 9 October 2011
I bought this for my husband who seems to spend the best part of the day with his head stuck inside the book. According to him it is the Rolls Royce of dictionaries.
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VINE VOICEon 21 November 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a great Dictionary. I have used Chambers for many years and have always loved them. So the chance to get a new one was very exciting.

I use my Chambers App on the iPhone all the time BUT an actual Dictionary is great to use too.....

This updated version is very neat. The Chambers is renowned for being the best single volume dictionary and this does not disappoint.

It is easy to hold, lays flat without any assistance (this is really important for ease of use) and defines words well.

It has a ribbon bookmark, which again helps with ease of use and is of good quality.

I particularly like the Red inner section which has fun word lists such as, insults- nipcheese = meaning a stingy person and also weasel words- headcount reduction= making people redundant!!!!It also has words to impress, words that sound good etc etc.....So it makes the dictionary fun......

So, overall a great book.....a really good thing to buy for yourself....dictionaries do go out of date...... and great for a present....
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Chambers has for decades been a byword for the most comprehensive household dictionary, outside of the very expensive (multi) volumes such as SOED and OED. Chambers is the preferred dictionary for advanced cryptic crosswords and Scrabble, and as such is a must-buy for any casual or serious lover of words.

This edition, the twelfth, is a slight departure, in that the content has been slightly revised over previous editions. Gone is the appendix of first names (very useful and fascinating), and in it's place a 'wordgame' section, featuring basic crossword anagram indicators, etc. Whilst this may be useful to some, any serious player of wordgames would already have Chambers Crossword Dictionary, for instance, so it's hard to see where the new sections fit.

Putting this to one side, this is still a great dictionary, and it's good fun to try to spot the famous 'humorous' Chambers definitions dotted throughout.

Excellent stuff... and the only reason that I haven't given this five stars is the lack of the appendix of first names. Please bring this back for the thirteenth edition!
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on 19 October 2013
This is an excellent dictionary BUT despite careful handling the hard cover has come away from the spine! This is so disappointing and something I have never experienced before. What a waste of money.
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on 22 February 2012
I have said before that Chambers is the only dictionary for serious crossword-puzzlers; not only is its content and presentation unmatched, but its build will stand up cheerfully to daily use throughout the life of the edition. This I can confidently affirm, since I am now on my fourth - and other family members are still regularly using my cast-offs !
One thing, though, about the latest edition: the new "Word Lovers' Miscellany" is probably a useful addition to the regular goodies, but I do wish that it had been placed at the end of the dictionary section rather than smack in the middle, and moreover smack in the middle of the ' m ' words, rather than at a letter-change point. The odd obscenity does pass my lips on occasion.......
But still and all, I wouldn't be without it !

Brian Haydock, Cheltenham
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