I've always been willing to work hard to be just a little more lazy. So I wrote a few regular expressions that work in notepad++ on sites like http://dictionary.reference.com/ to automate this process.
Lookup a word.
Copy its definition to notepad++.
Make sure to leave a blank line at the top.
Press ctrl+h and you'll see:
Ensure Search Mode is Regular expression (as shown above)
Fill in find and replace fields (see below)
Copy to english.stackexchange.com to preview effect.
Repeat as needed.
Be sure to correctly cite your source so everything is above board, nice and legal.
Here are some handy replacements:
Fix numbered points being on a different line
Convert to hard returns, double space lines, add french quote
The two bracketing colons
: are not part of these regular expressions. Copy from between them. Spaces aren't preserved well here so it's a hack around that limitation.
\r\n are the windows codes for a newline. If you're on mac or some other *nix you likely just want
\n. The nicer text editors let you turn on a mode to show whitespace characters. In notepad++ its View | Show Symbol | Show all characters. This shows
\r\n as (CR)(LF).
If you know a better method I'm all ears.