How to Reference Webster's Dictionary in APA Format

The American Psychological Association (APA) Style is most often used in the social and behavioral sciences to reference information. A reference list is included at the end of any paper or document with details on all of the references used. There are two ways to reference the Merriam-Webster dictionary using APA style, depending on whether you use the online or print version.

Online Dictionary

Write the name of the word in all lowercase letters, followed by a period. In parentheses, write “n.d.,” since there is no publication date for the online dictionary, and place a period after the parenthesis. If you are using this dictionary for multiple definitions, reference each word separately.

Place the phrase “In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary” after “(n.d.).” and make sure to italicize all the words except for “In.” Determine what edition of the dictionary is being used, and write that information in parenthesis. For example, (11th ed.). This information is found in the FAQ section of the website.

Take note of the URL for the word you referred to in the dictionary and write the Web address following the words “Retrieved from.” For example, Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/integrity. You do not include a period following the Web address.

Review the reference listing to make sure you have included all the necessary information. The following is an example of an online dictionary reference listing:

integrity. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary (11th ed.). Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/integrity

Make sure that the ​first line of the reference listing is flush left​ and ​all additional lines are indented a half-inch​ from the left margin.

Print Dictionary

Write the title of the dictionary, followed by the edition you are using in parentheses. Italicize the name and include a period after the parenthesis.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.).

Write the title of the dictionary, followed by the edition you are using in parentheses. Italicize the name and include a period after the parenthesis.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.).

Place the year of publication in parentheses, followed by a period. This information may be on the dictionary’s cover or within the first few pages of the book.

Locate the name of the publisher and where the book was published. This information is usually within the first few pages of the dictionary. Write the city and state where the dictionary was published, followed by a colon and the publisher’s name.

Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.

Review the reference listing to make sure you have included all the necessary information. The following is an example of a print dictionary reference listing:

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.). (2005). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.

Make sure that the ​first line of the reference listing is flush left​ and ​all additional lines are indented a half-inch​ from the left margin.