I did some Russian years ago and I'm tempted to resume my study of the language. I've always found it useful to work with a monolingual dictionary while learning a foreign language. Back in the days, there was the Ozhegov I had a copy of but don't any more.

The French have Le Robert or Larousse, the Germans Duden, the English Collins or Longman. I was wondering what one-volume dictionary people in Russia would have at home. I'm also interested in monolingual dictionaries meant specifically for learners of Russian as a foreign language.

  • 3
    Ожегов is still pretty popular, and you can find it online. There is also dic.academic.ru, which is closer to a dictionary search engine.
    – Ainar-G
    Aug 7, 2019 at 12:20
  • also interested in monolingual dictionaries meant specifically for learners of Russian as a foreign language - ready to be corrected but I've never heard such books exist. I wonder in what way would they be adapted for foreigners if they are supposed to be monolingual?
    – tum_
    Aug 7, 2019 at 15:21
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    @tum There are many English dictionaries meant for learners of English, the two that come to mind are Collins Cobuild Advanced Dictionary and Longman's Dictionary of Contemporary English, this one I find remarkable. For German, Pons publishes its Großwörterbuch Deutsch all Fremdsprache. They're adapted in the choice of entry words, the way the definition is formulated and the relevant grammatical information is presented. Russian being a world language with I guess many foreigners learning it, I thought Russian lexicography would produce something along those lines.
    – grandtout
    Aug 7, 2019 at 15:33
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's not about Russian language.
    – shabunc
    Aug 8, 2019 at 6:52
  • @shabunc. I fail to understand how a question about Russian lexicography is not about the Russian language.
    – grandtout
    Aug 8, 2019 at 6:58

2 Answers 2


Now that you mentioned LDOCE - this brought back some memories, I did you use it myself but I'm not sure I realised at the time that it was an advanced learner's dictionary.

This also encouraged me to do some research and I've discovered that "Большой универсальный словарь русского языка" has been issued fairly recently (in 2016) with a very promising annotation (I hope you'll manage to understand this, Google translation (truncated here) may help if not):

Государственный институт русского языка имени Пушкина представил результат 25-летнего труда – «Большой универсальный словарь русского языка». Это фундаментальное издание не имеет аналогов в современной русской лексикографии и, по мнению специалистов, встает в один ряд с такими всемирно известными словарями, как Oxford University, Longman, Duden Institute.

В Словаре представлено в алфавитном порядке около 30000 наиболее употребительных слов всех частей речи, составляющих лексическое ядро русского языка. Впервые при каждом слове приводятся сведения, отражающие практически все его лингвистические свойства: написание, ударение, особенности произношения, грамматические формы, значения с указанием их активности или пассивности, сочетаемость, синонимы, антонимы, паронимы, употребление в составе фразеологизмов, культурологическая и страноведческая информация. Рассматривается морфемный состав слова, дается словообразовательная структура, перечисляются производные от него лексические единицы, приводится этимология.

Словарь предназначен для преподавателей русского языка как родного, а также как иностранного, отечественных и зарубежных специалистов в области русистики, а также школьников, студентов и всех интересующихся нормативным употреблением русских слов.

I have never seen this dictionary in the flesh, so cannot comment on its quality but the description sounds very interesting.

Not sure whether links to online shops are allowed on SE, so I'll just mention that the book can be easily found on Ozon - part of the quotation above is in fact copied from there and they also show a few images of its pages to help you get an idea.

  • There's one more like that, М. Н. Аникина, Русский словарь. Учебный словарь русского языка для иностранцев, 2009. A monolingual learner's dictionary of Russian for foreigners.
    – Yellow Sky
    Aug 7, 2019 at 21:32
  • Annotation: "Учебный словарь-справочник «Русский словарь» предназначен для иностранцев, изучающих русский язык. Включает около 3500 слов, описание которых содержит краткую грамматическую характеристику, примеры лексической и грамматической сочетаемости, словообразовательные возможности, трудные случаи употребления.Словарь дополнит любой учебник по русскому языку как неродному. Разговорные фразы и иллюстративные тексты могут использоваться при работе над развитием речевых навыков. "
    – Yellow Sky
    Aug 7, 2019 at 21:33
  • @YellowSky Yes, I saw this one too in my Google search results. 3500 words, however, puts it into a completely different league compared to LDOCE and Collins entioned by the OP. There was also some "Краткий толковый словарь русского языка для иностранцев" among those google hits. 5000 words if I remember correctly.
    – tum_
    Aug 7, 2019 at 21:41
  • ... which apparently is not monolingual: "Основное значение слова обычно переводится на английский, французский, испанский и немецкий языки." (that's on the concise one from my previous comment).
    – tum_
    Aug 7, 2019 at 21:47
  • On a side note: is it just me or this part of the annotation sounds slightly off - Словарь предназначен для лиц, изучающих русский язык как иностранный или неродной, и преподавателей русского языка нерусским. :)
    – tum_
    Aug 7, 2019 at 21:53

The dictionary by Ожегов can be found online as sites where you either enter a word into the search field or browse the words alphabetically. Here are some of such sites:




This last site is also linked to other famous Russian monolingual dictionaries, although they are many-volume: Даль (Dahl, mid-19th century) and Ушаков (Ushakov, 1930s), as well as to an orthographic dictionary and several orthoepic (that is, pronunciation) dictionaries. These links are on the right at the top of the page, below the cover of the dictionary by Ozhegov.

Also, here is Ozhegov's dictionary as a PDF e-book of 2,314 pages.

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