The Diccionario de la lengua española (English: Dictionary of the Spanish language), also known as the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española (DRAE) (English: Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy), is a dictionary of the Spanish language. It is produced, edited, and published by the Real Academia Española (RAE) (English: Royal Spanish Academy). It was first published in 1780, and subsequent editions have been published about once a decade. The twenty-third edition was published in 2014.
When the RAE was founded in 1713, one of its primary objectives was compiling a Castilian Spanish dictionary. Its first endeavor was the six-volume Diccionario de Autoridades (Dictionary of Authorities) from 1726 to 1739. Based on that work, an abridged version was published in 1780, the full title of which was Diccionario de la lengua castellana compuesto por la Real Academia Española, reducido á un tomo para su más fácil uso (Dictionary of the Castilian tongue composed by the Royal Spanish Academy, reduced to one volume for its easier use). According to its prologue, the dictionary was published for general public access during the long time between the publishing of the first and second editions of the exhaustive Diccionario de Autoridades, thus offering a cheaper reference book. By the time the second edition was published, it had become the principal dictionary, superseding its ancestor. The last edition of the Diccionario de Autoridades was published in 1793.
The fourth edition (1803) introduced the digraphs "ch" (che) and "ll" (elle) to the Spanish alphabet as separate, discrete letters. "Ch" was alphabetized between "c" and "d", while "ll" was alphabetized between "l" and "m". Also in 1803, the letter "x" was replaced with "j" when it had the same pronunciation as "j", and the circumflex accent (^) was eliminated. The letters "ch" and "ll" were removed from the alphabet in 1994 at the 10th Congress of the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language (Spanish: Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española), and since then they have both been alphabetized as two-letter digraphs.
The earliest editions were more extensive: they included Latin translations of the entry, in some cases gave usage examples (especially in popular phrases), and summarized the word's etymology; contemporary editions do so concisely. The earliest editions had "x" entries that no longer appear individually.
Historically, the decision to add, modify, or delete words from the dictionary has been made by the RAE, in consultation with other language authorities (especially in Latin America) when there was an uncertainty. This process continued between 1780 and 1992, but, since the 1992 edition, the RAE and the twenty-one discrete language academies of Latin America collaborate in producing the Dictionary of the Spanish Language.
Until the twenty-first edition, the DRAE was published exclusively on paper. The 2001 edition was offered on CD-ROM and paper. The twenty-second edition was published in three formats, paper, CD-ROM, and on the Internet with free access. The freely-accessible online version as of October 2017 is the 23rd edition.
From the first edition (1780) through the fourth edition (1803), the dictionary was known as the Diccionario de la lengua castellana compuesto por la Real Academia Española (Dictionary of the Castilian language composed by the Spanish Royal Academy). From the fifth edition (1817) through the fourteenth edition (1914), it was known as the Diccionario de la lengua castellana por la Real Academia Española (Dictionary of the Castilian language by the Spanish Royal Academy). Starting with the fifteenth edition (1925), it has been known as the Diccionario de la lengua española (Dictionary of the Spanish language).
This section needs to be updated.(January 2017)
In 2006, The Spanish Federation of Jewish Communities complained that some of the dictionary's entries and definitions about Judaism were racist and offensive. One definition of sinagoga (synagogue) is: "a meeting for illicit ends"; the nominal definition of 'synagogue' is given first, and the pejorative definition is so identified.
Yerba-buena, an association of Spanish Gitanos ("Gypsies" in English), complains that one definition of Gitano: "one who practices deceit" or "one who tricks", is offensive and could encourage racism; nevertheless, the word gitano does actually mean "trickster" in Spanish, and other Spanish dictionaries include this definition.
The RAE dismissed the complaints as political correctness, saying "we simply photograph the landscape; we do not create it".