by John Christopher WELLS

An essential resource for users of Esperanto

Find what you are looking for.

Concise yet comprehensive, with
coverage of all the words you need, including many technical terms.

Both directions - contains both Esperanto–English and English–Esperanto sections, with a total of over 30,000 entries

Under the letter S alone, over a hundred new Esperanto root words have been added, ranging from skan/i, skip/o and spam/o to same/o, Samo/o, saud/a, Sejŝel/oj, Siĉuan/o, sik/o and svazi/o. The three hundred or so new English entries under S include scallion, scam, schlep, scrapheap, scrawny and spreadsheet.

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John Christopher Wells, MA Cantab, Ph.D. London, born 11 March 1939 in Bootle, is a phonetician and Esperanto teacher at University College London, where until his retirement in 2006 he held the departmental chair in Phonetics.

508 pp (xlvi + 462 pp);
14 cm x 21.6 cm

ISBN: 9781595691491 (paperback version)

ISBN: 9781595691507 (hardcover with jacket)

Keep up-to-date! Completely revised and rewritten, with a thorough
coverage of contemporary English and Esperanto

Check how to write it and say it:

With a grammatical introduction
presenting a clear and authoritative analysis

The format and style of the dictionary remain unchanged: it is still compact. It assumes that users have enough knowledge of both languages to work out for themselves most derived and inflected forms of words, given the base forms. Entries are as far as possible one-word equivalents. Polysemy is treated very summarily, and the number of prefixed, suffixed, and compound words recorded is quite limited.

There are some 10,150 Esperanto roots (headwords) in this dictionary, as against the inflated 16,780 (many of them virtually never used in practice) to be found in PIV. Many are specialist terms of various kinds; for everyday purposes the user of Esperanto needs no more than three or four thousand roots. The dictionary does however include some 150 roots not included in PIV: virtually all of these can be found in use in Vikipedio or other documents on the Web.


Discussion of questions arising during the revision of the author's Concise Esperanto and English Dictionary.

From the Foreword

More than forty years have passed since its first publication under the Teach Yourself imprint. During that time both English and Esperanto have grown and changed considerably. This new edition, published by Mondial, attempts as far as possible to reflect these developments, both by the addition of new headwords and by many other changes and improvements.

Forty years ago computers were in their infancy. There was no internet.

Plena Ilustrita Vortaro (PIV) had not yet been published, nor had the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English and other modern corpus-based dictionaries of English. Esperanto is a functioning language, not a theoretical project: so it is right to pay considerable attention to usage, both spoken and written. As well as informal observation of the language in use around the world, I have been able to draw on the five-million-word corpus of written Esperanto available at tekstaro.com, while Google and Wikipedia/Vikipedio offer an even vaster range of practical usage (though they must be consulted with care).

I have taken the opportunity to make better provision for American and international English. Accordingly I have added new headwords such as cilantro, maven, mononucleosis, and zucchini. I have also supplied American meanings to words already included, such as muffler as the equivalent of British silencer.

An important sentiment among Esperanto speakers in recent years is that sparked by Claude Piron’s booklet La Bona Lingvo: the desirability of thoroughly exploiting the latent capacities of existent lexical material of the language rather than creating new lexical material, particularly from French or other European languages. This dilemma has faced Esperanto since the earliest days. Was ‘hospital’ adequately expressed as the multi-affixed malsanulejo or should we add (as we did) a new single-root word hospitalo? For ‘duodenum’ should we say dekdufingra intesto (as is done in many languages, though not in English), or do we need duodeno? Is a ‘constellation’ stelfiguro or konstelacio? (Neither duoden/ nor konstelaci/ belongs to the “official” rootstock as determined by the Akademio de Esperanto.) In the English-Esperanto part, for various cases of this type in which usage has not settled down, I have decided to give both possibilities, so that the user can choose between them. For others I have given just my own recommendation. In the Esperanto-English part I have been more ready to include roots which many speakers, myself included, would disapprove of. I have marked some of them with the sign ☹ (‘deprecated’); for others I have merely supplied alternative forms in square brackets.

In the form and meaning of Esperanto roots I have generally followed the standard dictionary Plena Ilustrita Vortaro de Esperanto 2005 (Paris: SAT). However, I remain unconvinced by PIV’s decision to alter various established biological terms to make them agree with Latin scientific nomenclature. For example, I have retained the forms alcion/o ‘kingfisher’ and cipres/o ‘cypress’ as laid down in the Fundamento de Esperanto, rather than replace them with alced/o and kupres/o as in PIV. For ‘brain’ I retain cerb/o, rejecting PIV’s cerebr/o.

John Wells