Citing encyclopedias & dictionaries: MLA (8th) citation guide


This guide is based on the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 8th ed. and provides selected citation examples for common types of sources. For more detailed information please consult the print version of the handbook available at the SFU Library.

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The 8th edition of the MLA Handbook does not list specific rules on how to cite a DVD, a book, a journal article, etc., but instead outlines a universal set of general guidelines of citation and documentation that can be applied to any source type, including encylopaedias & dictionaries. These are the guidelines we followed to develop the following examples for you.

Encyclopedias and dictionaries

Parenthetical (in-text)

(Bergmann 502)


Works cited

Bergmann, Peter G. "Relativity." The New Encyclopaedia Britannica: Macropaedia. 15th ed. 29 vols. Britannica, 2002.

"Cronstedtite." The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989. OED Online. Accessed 14 June 2016.


Citing an encyclopedia article or dictionary entry is similar to citing a chapter in an anthology in a book.

Include the author's name (if available), the article or entry title, the title of the reference work.

If the work was accessed online, include the database used and the URL. You may also choose to include access date.

If the article or entry is unsigned, provide the title first.