I need the citations of dictionary/encyclopedia entries to be formatted like this:

  1. Merriam Webster, 15th ed., s.v. "slavish."

(see https://www.lib.sfu.ca/help/cite-write/citation-style-guides/chicago/encyclopedias-dictionaries)

with the the name of the encyclopedia first, and italic.

Currently it's showing up as

Definition of SLAVISH, by Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary.

so the wrong way, and the italics in the wrong spot.

I use Zotero and have tried setting it to Encyclopedia or Dictionary but both have the same result in this case.

Here's my MWE:

% Options for packages loaded elsewhere
\documentclass[a4paper, 12pt, oneside]{article}
\usepackage[a4paper, portrait, margin=1in]{geometry}


% Load BibLaTeX and set the style to Author-Year
\usepackage[notes,autocite=footnote, cmsdate=both, backend=biber, isbn=false, noibid, url=false]{biblatex-chicago}

% Tell BibLaTeX to use the file `example.bib` for the bibliography database

\usepackage[hang, flushmargin,splitrule,multiple]{footmisc}

% %%%
    \hb@xt@ \footnotemargin{\hss\@makefnmark}}%
    \hb@xt@ \footnotemargin{\@makefnmark\hss}}{}{}%

\setlength{\footnotemargin}{1.25em} % Between marker and text
\setlength{\skip\footins}{1\baselineskip} % Between main text and note rule
\setlength{\footnotesep}{\skip\footins} % Between footnotes [= previous]

\DeclareFieldFormat{pages}{#1}% no prefix for the pages field in the bibliography







Lorem or whatever.\footcite{Merriam-Webster.comDictionaryDefinitiona}

\printbibliography[heading=bibintoc, title=Bibliography]



And a .bib file:

  title = {Definition of {{SLAVISH}}},
  author = {{Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary}},
  url = {https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slavish},
  urldate = {2022-07-25},
  abstract = {of or characteristic of someone held in forced servitude; especially : basely or abjectly servile; despicable, low; oppressive, tyrannical… See the full definition},
  langid = {english},
  keywords = {Secondary},
  file = {/home/slavish.html}

Currently it's rendering that as:

enter image description here

Thanks for the help :)

1 Answer 1


The biblatex-chicago manual has an extensive discussion of the @inreference type (p. 13 in v2.3a). I won't quote all of it here, but it comes down to using the lista field for the article names. title is the title of the reference work as a whole (contrary to what one would expect coming from the standard biblatex styles, which are inspired by @incollection).

biblatex-chicago also comes with an extensive example .bib file, notes-test.bib, that contains several @inreference entries. For example

  title =    {Encyclopaedia Britannica},
  keywords = {original},
  edition =      15,
  lista = {Salvation},
  date =     {1980},
  annote =       {A simple InReference entry, citing a well-known
                  reference work, and therefore not to appear in the
                  bibliography. The 17th edition requires a date if
                  you cite a printed edition. The lista field gives
                  the name of the (alphabetically-arranged) article
                  from which the citation is taken.}
  title =    {Oxford English Dictionary},
  publisher =    oup,
  edition =      2,
  date =     {2009},
  note =     {CD-ROM, version 4.0},
  annote =   {An example of a reference work on CD-ROM, presented
                  in an InReference entry. The 17th edition prefers
                  that you provide a date when citing a physical
                  format, which apparently includes CD-Rom.}


  title =    {Wikipedia},
  lista =        {BibTeX},
  entrysubtype = {online},
  url =      {http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BibTeX},
  urldate =      {2019-11-15T20:59:00},
  userd =    {last edited},
  annote =   {\textsf{InReference} entries are designed to allow
                  you to cite particular articles in an
                  alphabetically-arranged reference work. The
                  \textsf{lista} field holds the name of the article,
                  and for printed works you can use the standard
                  \textsf{postnote} field to make a single .bib entry
                  work for references to several different articles.
                  For an online work, you must have a \textsf{urldate}
                  field, as such sources change rather rapidly, and in
                  the case of heavily contested articles it could well
                  be useful to also to include a time stamp in the
                  same field, as here (though this isn't necessary at
                  all for this article). The \textsf{userd} field
                  allows you to identify which sort of date is at
                  stake. Online works which haven't had any sort of
                  printed existence can, at your discretion, have
                  titles in plain roman (like an \textsf{Online}
                  entry). Defining an \textsf{entrysubtype} field
                  achieves this. Ordinarily, such an entry need not be
                  printed in the bibliography, only in notes, but here
                  it will appear in both for the sake of example.}

Based on that and based on your desired output and the entry you provided, you could try something like


  isbn=false, url=false,

  title        = {Merriam-Webster},
  lista        = {slavish},
  url          = {https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slavish},
  urldate      = {2022-07-25},

Lorem \autocite{slavish}
ipsum \autocite{sigfridsson}
dolor \autocite{slavish}


Merriam-Webster, s.v. “slavish.”

  • OK, that works (btw. where am I getting that info about Sigfridson? I can't tell haha) And now it formatted’s correctly, as far as I can tell. But follow-up question: How can I get that lista thing into Zotero? Any chance you know? Thanks a bunch :) Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 20:30
  • @ReaderGuy42 The sigfridsson data is in the file biblatex-examples.bib, which is installed on all systems with biblatex that I have included here to have another entry. I don't use Zotero, so I can't really help with that. I know that the biblatex-chicago input is fairly different from what other styles would want, so some export customisation is required. I know that "Better BibTeX for Zotero" allows you more customisation options, maybe that helps.
    – moewe
    Commented Feb 10, 2023 at 5:12
  • I've gotten it to work, thank you! For posterity: I need to add this to the Extra field in Zotero: ``` tex.title: Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary tex.author: tex.lista: slavish ``` Commented Feb 10, 2023 at 9:02

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