Like a dictionary, but instead of a list of words and their definitions, it contains words and how to use them in a sentence. If there is no such word, is there a specific word for a dictionary that also show how to use every entry in a sentence (list of [word + definition + use]?

5 Answers 5


Well, every good dictionary has for each entry the definition + example sentences.

If, instead, you mean (but it's my speculation) more or less fixed expressions, then you should look into Phraseology, which is different though.

For example, "to kick the bucket" is a phraseological unit. If I'm not wrong, this example is called a "locution", where the meaning is not the sum of the single components but, instead, it works like a single unit.

  • no. I don't mean a phraseology. What I was asking is a book that contains words and example sentences (the focus is on the example sentences).
    – Iti
    Apr 24, 2011 at 15:23
  • Then any good dictionary will do. Honestly, I haven't heard of a "dictionary" with only example sentences and no definitions.
    – Alenanno
    Apr 24, 2011 at 15:28
  • I know.. but what I am looking for is a word that emphasise that it's a list of example sentences, whereas the word "dictionary" usually emphasise its list of words (and meaning/definition)
    – Iti
    Apr 24, 2011 at 15:30

In german, there is the famous Duden "Stilwörterbuch" (aka Band 2 for the happy few). This dictionary focus on the usage of each word in different contexts and what kind of words (in other parts of speech) to use or to avoid with it. I found it invaluable when studying german and still use it regularly. A few french dictionaries have this "stylistique" dimension.

So I propose

  stylistic dictionary

as a solution. There may be some room for a work of this kind in english but most good dictionaries have a usage part.


The best I can come up with:

  • 'phrase book'
  • 'expression list'

So most dictionaries do only give definitions, but the OED is famous for giving referenced examples of usage in sentences that as well as possible show the nuance of the particular sub-definition. There might be an adjective that describes that aspect of the OED, but I think it would be a phrase that says something like "...with referenced examples in the literature".


There's also collocations, combinations of words that are often used together. A random example of a list with some collocations:


  • Yeah they still belong to Phraseology, but I guess he didn't need that...
    – Alenanno
    Apr 25, 2011 at 10:23

The Bee Dictionary is a good resource for definition + usage of English words. The good thing about this online dictionary is that words drop down in an alphabetical order (a little like your concept of list) in the manner of a hardbound that one would have at home.

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