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Michigan State University

French Language Dictionaries: Current Works

This is a guide to French language dictionaries in the M.S.U. Libraries in all formats. Last updated 06-21-2023

Current Works--The most commonly used online and newer paper titles in Reference 1 Center are listed at the beginning.

Provides translations for English-French, English-Spanish, English-Italian, and vice versa.  English pronunciations (U.S. and U.K.) are given as audio files.  Extensive verb conjugations are also available.  Corpi are drawn from Espasa, Princeton WordNet, and user submissions.  “Accurancy is verified through review by bilingual editors, and suggested corrections and additions by visitors to the site.”

Paper Editions

Le Robert and Collins Dictionnaire Francais-Anglais, Anglais-Francais  Reference PC 2640 .C69 2020

Collins Robert French Dictionary Main PC 2640 .C69 2012

Many older editions in Main stacks.  Both French-English and English-French.  “Revised with the addition of new words and examples from colloquial speech, concentrating on technology, communications, and medicine.”—Intro.

Usage, phrases, idioms, and register (e.g. formal, slang, etc.) are given, as is the context in which a term is used.  Pronunciation (in International Phonetic Alphabet) is provided for English.  Uncountable nouns are marked.  Vocabulary of both the U.K. and the U.S. are covered, with an emphasis on British English.

Supplementary material comprises verb tables, cultural notes, “numbers, time and dates,” “weights, measures, and temperatures,” maps, and a central section on “language in use” that covers common situations and correspondence (including e-mail and texting).

Dictionnaire Francais-Anglais, Anglais-Francais = French-English, English-French Dictionary (Larousse)  Reference PC 2640 .D53 2012

Collins French Dictionary Main PC 2640 .C685 2007

Collins French Concise Dictionary, 7th ed. (2018)  Main PC 2640 .C685 2018

Dictionnaire Compact plus Français-Anglais, Anglais-Français Main PC 2640 .D444 2005

Harrap’s French and English College Dictionary Reference PC 2640 .H2725 2006

Oxford Colour French Dictionary Plus Main PC 2640 .O77 2007

Nouveau Petit Robert Main PC 2625 .R62 2002

Petit Robert 2024  Reference PC 2625 .R62 2024

The standard comprehensive one-volume French dictionary.  Not prescriptive, although,  according to the Postface,  where necessary, the term prescribed by the Academie Française is laid out in the entry.  Includes spoken French and francophone vocabulary.  Long entries include basic etymology, homonyms, synonyms, and usage.  Pronunciation given for all words in International Phonetic Alphabet.  Register (e.g. formal, slang, etc.) given as is the context in which a term is used (e.g. biology).  Works cited are listed in the bibliography.  Supplementary material includes toponyms, eponyms, verb tables.

Petit Larousse Illustré: en Couleurs Main AG 25 .P43 2003 and 2004 eds.

87,000 articles; 5,000 illustrations; 321 maps.  Illustrated desk dictionary that gives definitions of words, pronunciation of loanwords in International Phonetic Alphabet, and usage.  Encyclopedic style, especially for the sciences, divided into common nouns and proper nouns, preceded by a section on grammar and followed by a chronology and atlas.  Includes a section of foreign phrases, proverbs, and historic words.  Also have older editions in Main with similar call numbers.

Dictionnaire Étymologique de Français Main PC 2580 .P48 2009

Etymologies, dates of usage, lists of variants and derived forms for many words, grouped as popular or learned (sometimes further subdivided for terms derived from Latin and from Greek).

Grand Dictionnaire Étymologique and Historique du Français Main PC 2580 .D82 2005 

Groups together words from the same root.  Boxes in the text trace the history of words whose sense has significantly changed over time.  Concludes with an alphabetical index, intended to take the place of most cross-references.


Dictionnaire de l’Académie Française Neuvième Édition Main PC 2625 .D455 2005 t. 1-2

First two volumes cover words A-Mappemonde. The standard conservative prescriptive dictionary of the French language for spelling and usage. Does not include etymologies or show historical development. Primarily for the literary language; includes very few scientific and technical terms.  We have many older editions; for these see the section of this guide called Dictionnaires d'Autrefois.

This edition adheres to the form and purpose of the earlier editions; that is, to establish proper French usage. Some 10,000 words not listed in the earlier edition will be included, indicated by asterisks.

Dictionnaire Alphabétique et Analogique de la Langue Française (Grande Robert) Main oversize PC 2625 .R552 1986 v. 1-9; oversize PC 2625 .R6 1951-64 v. 1-6

Le Robert Electronique (CD ROM version) DMC (4th floor West) PC 2625 .R552 1994

Known as Le Grande Robert. Basis for the Nouveau Petit Robert (above, in Reference).  Historical dictionary of the French language, each entry containing etymology, definitions, synonyms, antonyms, and cross-references to words related in meaning.  Extensive quotations from French writers, selected to clarify usage and trace historical changes in meaning.  Sponsored by the Academic Française.

Dictionnaire du Française Parlé: le Monde des Expressions Familières Main PC 2460 B535 1989

Covers spoken French contemporary expressions listed under keyword entry. Includes usage and detailed notes supported by a long bibliography and a good index.

Dictionnaire Étymologique de la Langue Français Main PC 2580 .B55 1989

Dictionnaire Historique de la Langue Française  Main PC 2580 .D52 1992

Includes words from 842 A.D. to the present.  Entries provide a detailed history of each word and dated examples of use, earliest to most recent, with examples for each change in meaning.  Icons are used to indicate the language of origin of each word.  See also references link variant spellings to the main entry for a word.  Bibliography.  Chronological Table of Principle French texts.

Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary=le Grande Dictionnaire Hachette-Oxford: French-English, English-French Main PC 2640 .G684 2001; PC 2640 .O94 1994

Prefatory material in both French and English.  Pronunciation in International Phonetic Alphabet for all words.  Entries include usage, in addition to “boxed [lexical usage] note” and cultural notes (indexed at rear).—Introd.

Both British and American English are covered, and while British orthography predominates, this is clearly marked in the entries.  Where appropriate, register is given (e.g. formal, slang, etc.); idioms are clearly noted.

Supplementary material includes detailed info. About the French orthography changes of 1990, verb tables, and a guide to communication, covering e-mail as well as documents.