There are several types of dictionary:
- A monolingual dictionary is written in one language and give explanations for words in that language. Most available monolingual dictionaries are made with the native speaker in mind. For EFL students a monolingual learner’s dictionary is recommended.
- A bilingual dictionary gives the translation for words in one language into another language.
Students of English should — in an ideal world — possess both types of dictionary and be fluent in their use. Electronic dictionaries and the Internet have replaced the traditional paper dictionary for many users.
With the advent of information and communication technology (ICT) in the late 20th century it became possible to manipulate and process very large texts, especially useful in building up corpora, like the Oxford English Corpus, thus greatly adding to the amount of information available to lexicographers, teachers, etc.
A new branch of lexicography, that of corpus lexicography, has also evolved as a result.
The term “dictionary" is sometimes used instead of glossary by publishers, presumably because more customers recognise the term dictionary.