Redundant Dictionary Definitions?

I wanted to find out what being zealous meant and it showed this:


-Having or showing zeal.

Do these kind of definitions annoy you?

1 Answer

  • Topi M
    Lv 5
    8 years ago
    Favourite answer

    Yes, they do indeed.

    I'm a huge fan of the Collins Cobuild Advanced Learner's English Dictionary because of its wonderfully simple definitions that often kind of cut to the chase of what people usually mean when they say the word.

    A couple of examples:


    Someone who is zealous spends a lot of time or energy in supporting something that they believe in very strongly, especially a political or religious ideal.

    She was a zealous worker for charitable bodies.


    Bastard is an insulting word which some people use about a person, especially a man, who has behaved very badly.

    It might seem a little extreme that that's their first definition for "bastard" rather than the illegitimate child meaning. But when you stop and think about it, that is exactly what you usually mean when you call someone a bastard.

    "Having or showing zeal" is a terrible definition. I'm not saying all dictionaries should only use simple words and present their definitions as full sentences as Cobuild does. But they're definitely onto something. Just using the word in a sentence within the definition itself gives you some information about how the word is used rather than just a short list of close synonyms.

    Source(s): Here's a free online version of Cobuild for your browsing pleasure:
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