Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Almanac and Atlas

Almanac vs Atlas
Aside from the more popular dictionary, encyclopedia and thesaurus, almanac and atlas are also extensively used as general reference materials all over the world. They are also the ones often interchanged because they have the same first letter and that they are both atypical-sounding. However, the differences between the two are quite clear. That is in terms of etymology and more importantly, their content.
The almanac, also known as ‘almanack’ and ‘almanach’, was first termed in the 1200’s by Roger Bacon. There has been a debate on which language the word comes from. Up to date, the origin remains a question, although experts find Spanish Arabic traces, specifically with the word al-manakh, which originally relates to a set of astronomical tables. On the other hand, the word atlas maintains a more certain origin. It comes from the Greek mythology figure, Atlas, who was the son of Titan Lapetus and Asia and brother of Prometheus. He is popularly known as the one punished by Zeus to carry the weight of heavens. He’s portrayed in statues and paintings as a man carrying an enormous sphere on his back. Atlas was first associated with a collection of maps during the 17th century.
Although both the atlas and the almanac by and large contain facts from around the world, they differ significantly with their specialization. The former is a collection of maps published into traditional book format or interactive multimedia form. The latter is a collection of information like astronomical statistics, topical developments, recent historical events and related data, usually arranged according to the calendar. The almanac is published annually in either book or digital format.
An atlas presents not only geographical features but as well as political boundaries, economic statistics, religious, social and geopolitical make-up of individual regions and countries. And more than world maps, some atlases also contain information of the other planets in the solar system, including their respective satellites. Some sample questions that can be answered with an atlas are: On what continent in Botswana? Which states have a common border with Mexico? Where is France? What is the currency used in Czech Republic? How vast is Greenland? How far the planet is Mars from Earth? And so on.
Conversely, an almanac is limited with entries that happened within a year. It contains annual information on geography, government, demographics, economics, agriculture, environment, science, transportation, mass media, religion, medicine, health, business, technology, sports, cultural events, etc. An almanac can answer questions such as: Who won the Miss Universe Pageant in 2009? Who are the senators in Singapore in 2008? What is the capacity of the Metrodome in Minneapolis? How does the population of Shenzhen, China compare to Hong Kong? Who was the Prime Minister of U.K. in 1970?
Modern almanacs now include a comparative presentation of statistical and graphical data involving the entire world. Similarly, atlases these days cover comprehensive reports integrating maps on climate change, natural environment, archival and topographic maps throughout the world. Both almanacs and atlases can now be accessed online.

  1. The almanac and the atlas are both considered as general references.
  2. The term almanac is speculated to have come from the Spanish Arabic term ‘al-manakh’ which pertains to astronomical tables. Atlas is derived from the Greek mythology figure,Atlas, often portrayed as a man carrying a massive sphere on his shoulders.
  3. The almanac basically contains a collection of annual reports on geography, government, demographics, economics, agriculture, environment, science, etc. The atlas is a collection of maps throughout the world and sometimes also within the solar system.
  4. Both the atlas and the almanac are published through traditional books and interactive multimedia online. Modern versions are now widely available online.

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1 Comment

  1. I have liked the information keep it up and thanks.

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