How do I cite the dictionary feature of Microsoft Word?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.
When you right-click a word in Microsoft Word, a drop-down menu appears. In some versions you will see “Look Up.” In recent versions you might see “Smart Lookup.” If you click that, a pane pops up with definitions of the word. Earlier versions of Word use the Microsoft Encarta Dictionary, while more recent versions use the Oxford English Dictionary. These dictionaries are not contained in the Microsoft Word software. They are retrieved from external websites. Much like Google results, the search results from the “Look Up” feature of Word are not works that can be cited. (See our post on citing Google definitions.) If you want to cite a dictionary, you should navigate to the website of the dictionary itself or use a print edition.