Although they might sound similar, Webster's New World College Dictionary and Merriam-Webster are completely separate dictionaries. They have different owners and different editorial staffs, who take a different approach to adding and updating entries.


Effective May 29, the AP Stylebook uses Merriam-Webster as its primary dictionary. 


The Stylebook's editors rely on Merriam-Webster's digital content, which is more up to date than the print Merriam-Webster Collegiate. We offer Merriam-Webster's digital content as an add-on to AP Stylebook Online, so you can subscribe to both here on


Should you prefer a print dictionary, Merriam-Webster editor at large Peter Sokolowski suggests the Merriam-Webster Collegiate is your best bet, but he notes that online expansion has outpaced what is available in print for now.


You can access Merriam-Webster's guidance on their website, but subscribing as an add-on to your AP Stylebook Online subscription has several advantages:

  • You can see guidance from the AP Stylebook and our primary dictionary in one place. Do a search for a word or phrase and get results from both, each clearly labeled. If you don't find an entry in the Stylebook, it's often because our editors think Merriam-Webster got it right and repeating it would be redundant.
  • Our website is ad free, so it's like buying the premium version of many subscription services to enjoy your content without ads.
  • On our platform, you can favorite entries and add custom notes to augment the dictionary's guidance. Does your local style differ from Merriam-Webster? Would adding an example help you see how to apply it to your writing? Is there guidance you come back to again and again? Use our functionality to support how you use the dictionary.

We believe that the combined subscription gives you comprehensive, convenient guidance for writing and editing. We hope you'll give it a try!