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What dictionary should be used when citing the dictionary in an American PhD-level dissertation?

In an Australian PhD dissertation, the Oxford English Dictionary would be the obvious choice when needing to make reference to a dictionary definition.

However, I am writing for an audience of (mostly) American computer scientists and would like to follow US conventions.

Which dictionary would be widely regarded as the source of the most authoritative, prestigious and "academic" definitions within the US?

(There is a related question at http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/12480/us-equivalent-to-the-oxford-english-dictionary but the question and answers are based on a reader's point of view, rather than as an authoritative source)