Ask anybody for a definition of the word dictionary and the term alphabetical will most likely feature in it. The Collins Pocket English Dictionary, for example, defines it as 'a book of alphabetically listed words in a language, with definitions, pronunciations, etc. ' . As we noted in Chapter 8, p. 112, however, dictionaries have not always been arranged alphabetically. Nor, it may be argued, is it necessarily the best arrangement for describing the vocabulary of a language. An alphabetical listing, after all, arranges lexemes in relation to each other in a purely arbitrary manner: adjacent entries in a dictionary rarely have any semantic relation, merely the accident of being in alphabetical series. The tradition of alphabetical arrangement probably developed because it served the convenience of reference: it is easier to find an item if it is located at the appropriate point in an alphabetical list, and nearly all reference books in daily use follow the dictionary tradition. Such an arrangement may be appropriate for telephone directories, but for dictionaries, as descriptions of the vocabulary of a language, it implies a view of vocabulary as a collection of unrelated words, whereas in fact the lexemes of a language, as we have seen, show many and various relationships.