A little over four centuries have passed since the publication in Madrid of Sebastian de Covarrubias Orozco’s Treasure of the Castilian or Spanish Language in 1611. This work by Covarrubias was the first Spanish language dictionary, given that the renowned – and much earlier – Latin-Spanish Dictionary by Nebrija from 1492 was a bilingual work, as its title indicates.


Later, other important dictionaries would appear; most noteworthy are those the Royal Academy has published ever since 1726, as well as the titanic María Moliner tome, Diccionario de uso del español which first appeared in 1966, or the Diccionario del español actual drafted in 1999 by Manuel Seco to reflect current usage.

With the advent of digitization, technology and linguistics go hand-in-hand and we can see how dictionaries have successfully adapted themselves and moved with the times. A wealth of online consultation resources help us resolve the countless doubts that arise regarding the exact meaning of words, the correct use of language, grammar or spelling, the translation of a term, etc.

Some of the best-known and most widely consulted are:

In addition to the linguistic dictionaries, also called prescriptive dictionaries, which compile words and their meaning in alphabetical order, there exist other kinds. Some of the best-known and most widely used are: encyclopedic, bilingual or technical works, thesauri, etc. Let’s look at technical dictionaries. A technical dictionary reflects the terms employed in a specific field of knowledge. In our case, insurance is a field of knowledge largely unfamiliar to the general public and this is therefore a much needed dictionary. In its drive to promote the insurance culture and research in this field, Fundación MAPFRE set about producing one.

MAPFRE’s first insurance dictionary, Diccionario Básico de Seguros, was published in 1972 and would soon become a classic in the insurance world, so much so that, in some Latin American countries, it would become a benchmark icon for the MAPFRE brand.

Subsequent editions in 1988, 1990, 1992 and 2008 greatly enriched that initial edition, not just as regards the number of terms, but also concepts and expressions. The dictionary thus acquired a certain pedagogical and international character, thanks to the incorporation of a bilingual glossary (Spanish and English).

During the toughest period of the COVID pandemic, the whole team working remotely kept everything up and running as normal, updating the web catalog daily with electronic documents and digital magazines

The latest version appeared in 2019. The new insurance activity scenario, the globalization of the economy and digitization have led to the introduction of a large number of new terms and even concepts not envisaged in previous versions. This dictionary not only reflects the semantic field of insurance, but also terms common to other disciplines, such as law, finance, technology, etc.

But a dictionary published in 2019 needed to be dynamic and constantly updated. For this reason, the online version was conceived as a space not just for consultation, but also for collaboration and feedback, somewhere users and researchers can contribute new terms and distinct meanings, or make suggestions to delete or amend the contents of the dictionary. This version is open to all and totally free. We particularly look forward to much-needed contributions from the insurance community and, in particular, those related to the rich Latin-American terminology.

The print edition thus becomes a complement to the online version, with the latter taking on the more prominent role. As a result, reissues and updated printed versions will only be published whenever the number and interest of the new additions so dictate.

In addition, ever since 2017 the dictionary also has an online and print version in Brazilian Portuguese.

Some figures for the online dictionary in 2020:

  • Number of terms: 5,440 terms
  • Visits: 244,145
  • Unique visitors: 195,697
  • Most consulted words: premium, risk, maritime spaces, negotiable instrument, floating policy, earned premium, and loss ratio

The insurance data source: the Fundación MAPFRE Documentation Center

Over 30 years since its creation in 1990, the Fundación MAPFRE Documentation Center remains in the vanguard as regards employing the latest technologies to offer its users and subscribers the best possible quality of service. Our acquired experience and expertise have enabled us to become a flagship center in such sectors as insurance, risk management, accident prevention and social protection.

During the toughest period of the COVID pandemic, the whole team working remotely kept everything up and running as normal, updating the web catalog daily with electronic documents and digital magazines, monitoring daily news on the sector and responding by e-mail to user queries (centrodocumentacion@fundacionmapfre.org).

With over 156,000 bibliographic references, a great many of these resources are freely accessible online in digital format free of charge. We also have agreements with public and private institutions, so as to be able to offer open access to their publications, as well as works and publications by students (Master’s Dissertations) and professors from leading Spanish universities, professionals and researchers. As a Fundación MAPFRE document repository, the Documentation Center collaborates with all areas of the foundation, providing a digital link to all publications and also making them available in its web catalog. On a daily basis it handles queries in search of information and documentation, from both external users (insurance sector professionals and researchers) and internal users from technical areas within the MAPFRE Group.

Its plan to digitize the whole collection of documents continues apace, in line with the SDG of paperless offices.

Moreover, it maintains its dissemination drive through social media, mainly via Linkedin, and publishes a monthly News Bulletin received by its subscribers, in which magnificent collaborators participate with articles on current, cutting-edge topics, and which also include recommended bibliographies.