The best hardcover unabridged English language dictionary is the
Oxford English Dictionary. The 20-volume printed set retails for $895
according to [ http://www.oup-usa.org/isbn/0198611862.html ]. This web
page hypes the product as follows:
"The "greatest work in dictionary making ever undertaken" (The New
York Times) celebrates its 75th anniversary
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the magnificent Oxford English
Dictionary. Begun in 1857, published in ten volumes in 1928, and
subsequently revised, expanded to 20 volumes, and adapted to the
electronic age, the OED has become the most venerated English language
reference ever compiled. For those who use and love language, the OED
has no peer.
With more than 22,000 pages of definitions, nearly 2.5 million
illustrative quotations from writers as disparate as Geoffrey Chaucer
and Erica Jong, William Shakespeare and Raymond Chandler, Charles
Darwin and Quentin Tarantino, the OED is a dictionary like no other.
Its entries offer the most authoritative definitions, detailed
information on pronunciation, variant spellings throughout each word's
history, extensive treatment of etymology, and details of area of
usage and of any regional characteristics (including geographical
origins). It is, as Time observed, "a scholarly Everest.""
The CD-ROM edition of the OED is available at [
http://www.oup-usa.org/isbn/0195218884.html ] for $295.00. Another
website, [ http://www.elearnaid.com/elearnaid/oedoxendicse.html ]
claims to have this same product on sale for $207.00. I'd recommend
confirming that it is in fact that same product as the more expensive
version. You may also want to try your luck on other discount book
You can find reviews on the OED (both print and CD-ROM editions) on
the following pages:
[ http://www.mantex.co.uk/reviews/oxf-cdr2.htm ]
More reviews are available by browsing through the following Google
Google Search: reviews + "oxford english dictionary"
Note that most negative reviews of this product complain about its
copy protection software and not about the dictionary itself. Some of
the older reviews apply to an out-of-date version of the product. The
OED itself *is* the best known English reference dictionary available.
If this is a major concern for you, I'll suggest one other dictionary
that is cheaper, but still includes 450,000 definitions. Webster's
Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged can be found on Amazon
here: [ http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0877794685/ref=lpr_g_2/103-1310929-0119003?v=glance&s=books
]. Read the reviews and decide for yourself which of these two will
best suit your needs. Note that the first review on the page (when I
pulled it up) compared this product with the OED. The price for
Webster's CD is also much lower than the OED at $48.87.
I hope this helps you. Please ask for clarification if needed.