The nature of the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal is mainly determined by its distinctiveness and the specific place of the dictionary within the broad typological diversity.  The WAT is a comprehensive synchronic defining dictionary primarily aimed at the language usage of the current day.  Such a dictionary should reflect the vocabulary of Afrikaans in a comprehensive manner.  The comprehensive nature of the WAT extends over three levels: the inclusion of the Afrikaans vocabulary in its widest scope, the large variety of types of information presented in the dictionary as well as the extent of the treatment in the dictionary.  The choice and presentation of data in a comprehensive dictionary is the result of extensive research on the language treated in the dictionary.  It is an academic dictionary that should be compiled in such a way that it can be used as an authoritative reference work by linguists and other researchers.  The lexicographic process leading to the publication of a comprehensive dictionary prerequires research by the lexicographers and therefore a familiarity with both the theory of dictionary writing and linguistics as well as the ability to do research that can be presented according to the needs of the user. The work on the WAT is a scientific practice leading to the publication of a dictionary that can be used as an important training, research and teaching instrument.