A. One Author or EditorB. Two Authors or EditorsC. Three to Five Authors or EditorsD. Chapter in an Edited Book or TextbookE. Entry in a dictionary or encyclopediaF. No AuthorG. E-BookH. Edition other than the FirstI. TranslationJ. Government Publication
A. Journal Article with One AuthorB. Journal Article with Two AuthorsC. Journal Article with 3 - 6 AuthorsD. Journal Article with more than 7 authorsE. Magazine ArticleF. Newspaper ArticleG. Article from a DatabaseH. Google Scholar
A. Basic Web PageB. University / College WebpageC. No AuthorD. Blog postE. Online Reference EntryF. Online Government DocumentG. Document from a WebsiteH. Wikis
A. Motion PictureB. YouTube VideoC. Podcast
A. Electronic ImageB. FiguresC. Photographs and Maps
A. InterviewB. EmailC. Religious and Classical WorksD. Secondary SourcesE. Lectures / Course MaterialsF. Archival WorksG. Tweets & FacebookH. Personal Communication
Creative Commons License
This is the "E. Entry in a dictionary or encyclopedia" page of the "APA Citation Style" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

This guide will help you with formatting your citations according to the APA guidelines.
Last Updated: Jun 9, 2017 URL: http://cotr.libguides.com/apa Print Guide RSS Updates

E. Entry in a dictionary or encyclopedia Print Page

About Citing Books

When you're finding books for your research, make note of the author name(s), book title, publication date, publisher, and place of publication.

For each type of source in this guide, both the general form and a specific example will be provided.

The following format will be used:

In-text Citation (Paraphrase) - entry that appears in the body of your paper when you express the ideas of a researcher or author using your own words.

In-text Citation (Direct Quotation) - entry that appears in the body of your paper, word for word from a source, and in quotation marks

References - entry that appears at the end of your paper.

Information on citing and several of the examples were drawn from the APA Handbook (6th ed.). 

Numbers in parentheses refer to specific pages in the manual.


General Formatting

  • Alphabetize your reference list by the first word of the citation (usually the author's last name).Double space all of the citations on your reference page.
  • Indent the second & following lines of the citation 5-7 spaces.
  • For 2-6 authors: Wingert, P., Smith, J., & Brown, P.
  • For more than 6 authors: Provide only the first author followed by a comma and et al. For example: Wingert, P., et al.
  • Capitalize ONLY the first word of the document title and proper nouns. If there is a colon in the title, capitalize the first word after the colon.
  • No period after URL for e-books.
  • No retrieval date is needed.

Entry or Article in an Encyclopedia (p. 205, example #30))

Encyclopedia Article or Entry

  • Italicize the title of the encyclopedia.
  • The name of the editor is written with the initials first followed by the last name and a parenthesis with the abbreviated word Ed. or Eds. Some encyclopedias have no editors or authors; use the title of the entry for in-text and reference list in place of editor(s) or author(s).
  • Page numbers are preceded by p. for one page and pp. for two or more pages.
  • List the URL or DOI for encyclopedia found on the web. Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a unique alphanumeric string used by scholarly publishers to provide persistent link to content in the Internet.
  • When using non-routine information, provide a description in a bracket after the title: [PDF File].
  • Include only the reference information available from the source. Some encyclopedias have no volume numbers or editors.
General Format

In-Text Citation (Paraphrase):

(Author Surname [of Article], Year) OR 

(Author Surname [of Article], Year, page number)

In-Text Citation (Quotation):

(Author Surname [of Article], Year, page number)

References (Quotation):

Author Surname [of Article], First Initial. Second Initial. (Year). Article title. In Editor First Initial. Second Initial. Surname (Ed.), Reference book title: Subtitle (# ed. edition, Vol.volume #, pp. page range of article). Place of publication: Publisher.

Basic Format
The in-text citation is written inside the parentheses with the last name of the author and year of publication, separated by a comma.

In-Text Citation (Paraphrase):

(Johnson, 1998)

In-Text Citation (Quotation):

(Johnson, 1998, p.532)


Print, Basic Format:

Author. (Year). Title of Entry. In Editor (Ed.), Title of Encyclopedia

         (Edition, Volume number, Pages). Location: Publisher.

Print, Basic Format: Example 1

Johnson, A. (1994). Borealis. In Encyclopedia of Northern

Climates (Vol. 1, pp. 498-554). New York, NY: Bartes.

Print, Basic Format: Example 2

Bergmann, P. G. (1993). Relativity. In The New Encyclopedia  Britannica.

         (Vol. 26, pp. 501-508). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica.

Example 3. - Author and editor

Guthrie, L.  (2008). Ethics in computer-aided counseling. In F.T.L. Leong,  

   E.M. Altmaier, & B.D. Johnson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Counseling 

   (Vol. 1, pp. 187-190). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Example 4. - Author only

Parma, A.M. (2007). Adaptive management. In McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia

of Science & Technology (10th ed., Vol. 1, pp. 130-132). New York,

NY: McGraw-Hill.

Example 5. - Editor only

Krapp, K. (Ed.). (2005). Jean Piaget. Psychologists & their theories

           for students. (Vol. 2, pp. 345-372). Detroit, MI: Thomson Gale.

Online Encyclopedia

Online Basic Format:

Author. (Year). Title of Entry. In Editor (Ed.), Title of Encyclopedia (Edition,

         Volume number, Pages). Retrieved from http://www.URL

         or doi:0000000/000000000000 or http://dx.doi.org/10.0000/0000

Example (Online):

Graham, G. (2005). Behaviorism. In E. N. Zalta (Ed .), The Stanford encyclopedia

         of philosophy (Fall 2007 ed.). Retrieved from



Entry in a Dictionary (p. 202)

Entry in a Dictionary

  • Include only the reference information available from the source.
  • Italicize the title of the dictionary.
  • Authors or editors in most dictionaries are not indicated, specifically in online dictionaries. Just write the term or phrase in lieu of the author.

Dictionary (Print):

In-text Example (Paraphrase):

One definition (“Entropy,” 2005) concentrates on the communication aspect ...

In-text Example (Direct Quotation):

In the context of communication theory, entropyy is defined as the "measure of the average information rate of a message or language" specific to the quantity of that communication ("Entropy," 2005, p. 68).

Basic Format: References

Author. (Year). Title of Dictionary. Location: Publisher.

Example (Basic Format):

VandenBos, G. R. (Ed.). (2007). APA dictionary of psychology. Washington, DC:

   American Psychological Association.

Example 1. - Author and editor

Sutherland, G. (2004). Clough, Blanche Athena (1861-1960). In H.C.G.

Matthew  & B. Harrison (Eds), Oxford dictionary of national

biography, (Vol. 12, pp. 205-207). New York, NY:Oxford

University Press.

 Example 2. - Author only

Morris, M. (2012). Cultural anthropology. In Concise dictionary of social

       and cultural anthropology, (p. 54). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

 Example 3. - Editor only

VandenBos, G.R. (Ed.). Activation theory of emotion. (2007). In APA

      dictionary of psychology. (1st ed., p. 13). Washington, D.C.:

      American Psychological Association.


Dictionary (Online):

When using an entry from a subscription (library database or e-book collection) dictionary follow this format:

Definition. Entry n. or v. (Year of publication). In Title of online dictionary (edition if applicable.). Retrieved from HTTP:// publishers URL on the Internet.

NOTE: For papers submitted for coursework, many instructor's request the URL to the entry.  Ask your instructor which they prefer.

Basic Format

Term or Phrase. (Year).  In Title of Dictionary.Retrieved from URL.

Example (In-text):

("cascade", n.d., para.2)

Example (References):

cascade, n. (2015). In OED Online. Oxford University Press, Retrieved from



Learn More

The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University offers an online resource which can be used in some cases.  However, it does not include everything required for citing sources in one place.

The APA citation style does not cover Canadian government sources, and has only a limited section on American government resources.

Please refer to the staff at the Library Reference Desk for clarification when citing Canadian government sources.


Loading  Loading...