Cover image for A dictionary of geography
A dictionary of geography
Mayhew, Susan.
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1997.
Physical Description:
460 pages : illustrations, maps ; 20 cm.
General Note:
Rev. ed. of: The concise Oxford dictionary of geography / Susan Mayhew and Anne Penny. 1992.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
G63 .M39 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This invaluable dictionary provides comprehensive coverage in one volume of both human and physical geography. For this second edition, existing entries have been fully updated and 1,000 new entries have been added, making this an essential reference for all students of geography, whether atschool or university. Over 6,000 clear and concise definitions Authoritative entries encompass the range of the subject, including cartography, surveying, meteorology, climatology, ecology, population, industry, and development Up-to-date treatment of topics such as plate tectonics, remote sensing, geographic information systems, and aerial differentiation Factfinder with key economic and population statistics for nearly 40 countries

Author Notes

Susan Mayhew is a geography teacher. She lives in Oxford.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The fourth edition of this standard reference book has been completely revised and has more than 300 new entries, 3,500 entries in total. New definitions include economic geography and neo-liberalism. This is a basic dictionary with short entries and definitions. It covers all areas of geography in both main subfields, human and physical geography. Citations appear in the text of the definition, though no overall bibliography is provided. What makes this title stand out in the field currently is the selection of Web resources available along with the book. In the electronic edition, the Web links are from the individual entries. In the print edition, a Web site icon is provided that will direct the reader from a general URL to a large collection of pages that can provide further explanation of a particular term. This collection of material adds a great depth to the dictionary. Cross-references are marked with asterisks in the print edition, though quick links in the electronic edition make jumping around the text easier. Some images and drawings available in the print form of the dictionary are not available in the electronic version; for instance, an excellent diagram explaining central place theory, available in the book, is nowhere to be located online. Furthermore, text in shading would be more clearly visible than black-and-white text. Opt for the print version, if available, as the online version lacks some material found in the print and does not make the best use of the online format. Overall, a well-done title and useful for college students and teachers.--Stratton, Steve Copyright 2010 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Mayhew, who has authored every previous edition of this work, has produced yet another comprehensive one-volume dictionary covering human and physical geography and such fields as cartography, meteorology, climatology, ecology, geology, geomorphology, and agriculture. The definitions are generally short, ranging in length from one to three paragraphs and including abbreviated bibliographic citations and cross-references indicated with asterisks. Some entries have black-and-white illustrations or web links (a full list is available online at The format is pleasing, with bold headings and ample white space. However, the short introduction mentions nothing about the web links and states a different number of entries from the back cover (6300 vs. 3500), suggesting that the publisher rushed to press without adequate attention to this supplementary material. Additionally, the publisher's web site states that the dictionary includes a Factfinder appendix that gives important statistical information for nearly 40 countries, but it did not appear in the review copy. BOTTOM LINE The aforementioned inconsistencies are disappointing when they come from a publisher of this repute. Nonetheless, the body of the dictionary has the high-quality information expected from Oxford, which makes it useful to everyone from geography undergraduate students through faculty. Recommended for academic libraries supporting geography programs.-Rosanne M. Cordell, Indiana Univ. Lib., South Bend (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Not all geography dictionaries can be judged by title; Webster's New Geographical Dictionary (1988) is a gazetteer with 47,000 place-name entries rather than definitions of terms used in the discipline. This revision by Susan Mayhew (a geography teacher in Oxford, UK) of her own and Anne Penney's Concise Oxford Dictionary of Geography (1992) lists clear, lexical definitions for more than 6,000 terms from the various subdisciplines that make up human and physical geography. The British background of the author is evident in spelling and in examples used to explicate terms. The entries are current and accessible to social scientists, nongeographers and geographers alike. Entries include cross-references and some illustrations where needed to explain concepts fully. An appendix gives basic information about many (but not all) nations. This volume is as encompassing but has more succinct definitions than Audrey Clark's Longman Dictionary of Geography: Human and Physical (CH, Sep'86) or Dictionary of Human Geography, ed. by R. J. Johnston (CH, Jul'82). The low price and crisp definitions make this title an attractive library acquisition. Libraries serving community college, college, and university social science and geography students should consider it if they lack the titles referred to above. S. R. Johnson; Meridian Community College

Table of Contents

How to use this book
A-Z Dictionary of Geography