Pioneers in dictionary publishing since 1819



With a history spanning almost 200 years, Collins remain pioneering dictionary publishers today: our dictionaries are easy to use and up to date, benefiting from extensive language research using the Collins Corpus. Constantly updated, and with over 4.5 billion words, this living language resource helps Collins track and monitor language change, allowing us to identify the new words, phrases, and meanings that spring up every day, making us an unparalleled resource for word lovers, word gamers, and word geeks everywhere. was launched in 2007, and since then we have expanded our online dictionary content to include an extensive English thesaurus, and bilingual dictionaries in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese and Hindi, as well as a comprehensive grammar section.


Collins dictionary publishing began in 1824, with the publication of Donnegan’s Greek and English Lexicon in partnership with Smith Elder. In 1840, the first in the series of Collins Illustrated Dictionaries was published alongside the Sixpenny Pocket Pronouncing Dictionary which went onto sell approximately 1 million copies. 20 years later and with the addition of steam presses, Collins could publish dictionaries in all sizes, prices and bindings from the Library Dictionary with 1000 engravings at 10s 6d to the Globe Dictionary at 2s 6d.

Into the 1900s and Collins launched the first ‘Gem’ – the Gem Pocket Pronouncing Dictionary in 1902. William Collins' idea was to publish a dictionary that everyone could afford and his small format but revolutionary dictionary went on to be continuously published for decades to come.

By the 1920s, there were foreign language editions as well as travel and reference Gems. Collins Gems and larger format dictionaries became some of the company's best-known - and bestselling – books, familiar to generations of dictionary users, handed down from parent (and grandparent) to child, and as popular today as it has ever been.

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