Dictionaries of the national language of a country are an essential and quite frequently controversial part of social life and learning. This is an account of how such dictionaries are made, how they are used, and the issues and problems that face their writers and editors. It is wide-ranging,scholarly, and readable. The author gives a concise history of the general-purpose dictionary, describing both the main approaches to dictionary making and the main kinds of dictionary . After comparing the different lexicographical traditions of Great Britain and the USA, and considering the rolesof dictionaries in those countries, Dr Bejoint explores the linguistic problems in such matters as distinguishing meanings, writing definition, providing synonyms, etc. He ends with a discussion of current lexicographical trends.