Citing encyclopedias & dictionaries: Chicago/Turabian (17th ed.) citation guide

This guide provides examples of citations of commonly-used sources, based on The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.), using notes/bibliography style only.

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Encyclopedia or dictionary entry

More guidelines for citing this type of material can be found in the following sections: (14.232 - 14.234).

Print version


     1. Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., s.v. "Ovid."

     2. As'ad Abukhalil, "Maronites," in Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa, ed. Philip Mattar, 2nd ed., vol. 3 (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004), 1491-92.


Abukhalil, As'ad. "Maronites." In Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. Edited by Philip Mattar. 2nd ed. Vol. 3. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004.

Online version


     1. Encyclopedia Britannica Online, s.v. "Ovid," accessed May 2, 2006,


Grove Music Online, s.v. "Sibelius, Jean," by James Hepkoksi, accessed January 3, 2005,, s.v. "Anorexia nervosa," accessed March 3, 2005,


  • Well-known encyclopedias and dictionaries are usually cited only in notes, with the edition specified but not all the publication facts. It is not necessary to list them in bibliographies. Other subject-specific and lesser-known encyclopedias and dictionaries should include publication details in both notes and bibliographic entries (14.232).
  • The abbreviation "s.v." (sub verbo, Latin for "under the word") is used to identify the article's title that is not signed (14.232).
  • It may be appropriate to include the author of an entry if the entry is signed (12.232).
  • If you cite an online encyclopedia or dictionary, always include an access date in addition to the short form of the URL. This is because online versions of encyclopedias are subject to continuous updates (12.233).
  • If the article you are citing was found in a database, provide the database name (e.g. Gale Virtual Reference Library) and any identification number in parentheses after the publication details (14.175).