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Encyclopedia > Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary print set

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is a dictionary published by the Oxford University Press (OUP), and is the most successful dictionary of the English language, (not to be confused with the one-volume Oxford Dictionary of English, formerly New Oxford Dictionary of English, of 1998.) As of 30 November 2005 OED included about 301,100 main entries, comprising more than 350 million printed characters. Additional to the headwords of main entries, it has 157,000 combinations and derivatives in bold type, and 169,000 phrases and combinations in bold italic type, a total of 616,500 word-forms. It has 137,000 pronunciations, 249,300 etymologies, 577,000 cross-references, and 2,412,400 illustrative quotations. The latest, complete printed edition of the dictionary (Second Edition, 1989) was 20 volumes, comprising 21,730 pages, with 291,500 entries. Image File history File links Oxford_English_Dictionary_Set. ... Image File history File links Oxford_English_Dictionary_Set. ... The dictionary is a list of words with their definitions, a list of characters with their glyphs, or a list of words with corresponding words in other languages. ... Oxford University Press (OUP) is a highly-respected publishing house and a department of the University of Oxford in England. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... A copy of the 2001 issue of the NODE The Oxford Dictionary of English (formerly The New Oxford Dictionary of English, often abbreviated to NODE) is a single-volume English language dictionary first published in 1998 by the Oxford University Press. ... November 30 is the 334th day of the year (335th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... A headword (or head word) is the word under which a set of related dictionary definitions will be listed. ... Look up pronunciation in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Not to be confused with Entomology, the study of insects. ... For the Wikipedia quotation templates, see Category:Quotation templates. ...

The policy of the OED is to attempt recording a word's most known uses and variants in all varieties of English, worldwide, past, and present; per the 1933 Preface: The aim of this Dictionary is to present in alphabetical series the words that have formed the English vocabulary from the time of the earliest records [ca. A.D. 740] down to the present day, with all the relevant facts concerning their form, sense-history, pronunciation, and etymology. It embraces not only the standard language of literature and conversation, whether current at the moment, or obsolete, or archaic, but also the main technical vocabulary, and a large measure of dialectal usage and slang.

It clarified,

Hence we exclude all words that had become obsolete by 1150 [the end of the Old English era] . . . Dialectal words and forms which occur since 1500 are not admitted, except when they continue the history of the word or sense once in general use, illustrate the history of a word, or have themselves a certain literary currency.

The OED is the origin of much scholarly work about English words. Its choice of order in listing variant spellings of headwords influences the written English of many countries. Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon[1], Old English: ) is an early form of the English language that was spoken in parts of what is now England and southern Scotland between the mid-fifth century and the mid-twelfth century. ...




Originally, the dictionary was unconnected to the university; it was a project conceived in London, by the Philological Society, when Richard Chenevix Trench, Herbert Coleridge, and Frederick Furnivall were dissatisfied with the available English dictionaries. This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... A society in Great Britain dedicated to the study of language. ... Richard Chenevix Trench (September 9, 1807 - March 28, 1886) was an Anglican archbishop and poet. ... Herbert Coleridge (born 1830, died April 23, 1861) was a grandson of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. ... Frederick James Furnivall (February 4, 1825 - July 2, 1910), English philologist and editor, was born at Egham, Surrey, the son of a surgeon who made his fortune from running the private lunatic asylum at Great Fosters there. ...

In June 1857, they formed an "Unregistered Words Committee" for finding unlisted and undefined words not in current dictionaries, but Trench's report, presented in November, was not a simple list of unregistered words; it was a study titled On Some Deficiencies in our English Dictionaries; these, were sevenfold:

  • Incomplete coverage of obsolete words
  • Inconsistent coverage of families of related words
  • Incorrect dates for earliest use of words
  • History of obsolete senses of words often omitted
  • Inadequate distinction between synonyms
  • Insufficient use of good illustrative quotations
  • Space wasted on inappropriate or redundant content.

Trench suggested that a new and truly comprehensive dictionary would do: based upon contributions from many volunteer readers, who would read books, copy passages illustrating actual word uses to quotation slips, and mail them to the editor. In 1858, the Society agreed, in principle, to the project: A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (NED). Synonyms (in ancient Greek syn συν = plus and onoma όνομα = name) are different words with similar or identical meanings. ...

The first editors

Trench played a key role in the project's first months, but his ecclesiastical career meant he could not attend to the dictionary as needed, easily ten years; he withdrew, and Herbert Coleridge became the first editor. This article should be transwikied to wiktionary Ecclesiastical means pertaining to the Church (especially Christianity) as an organized body of believers and clergy, with a stress on its juridical and institutional structure. ...

On May 12, 1860, Coleridge's plan for the work was published, and the research started. His house was the first editorial office; he ordered a 54-pigeon-hole grid in which to array 100,000 quotation slips. In April 1861, the first sample pages were published; later that month, Coleridge died of tuberculosis, at age 31. May 12 is the 132nd day of the year (133rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1860 is the leap year starting on Sunday. ... Tuberculosis (abbreviated as TB for Tubercle Bacillus) is a common and deadly infectious disease that is caused by mycobacteria, primarily Mycobacterium tuberculosis. ...

The editorship then fell to Furnivall, who was greatly enthusiastic and knowledgeable, but lacked the temperament for such a long-term project. Many assistants were recruited and two tons of readers' slips and other materials delivered to his house, in many cases passed to them. Furnivall realized they needed an efficient excerpting system. Therefore, in 1864, he founded the Early English Text Society, and, in 1865, founded the Chaucer Society for preparing editions of general benefit and immediate value to the dictionary project, however, none of this work led to compilation; it was entirely preparatory, lasting 21 years.

In the 1870s, Furnivall unsuccessfully approached Henry Sweet and Henry Nicol to succeed him, before James Murray accepted the post. Henry Sweet (1845-1912) was a philologist, and is also considered to be an early linguist. ... Sir James Augustus Henry Murray (1837-1915) was a Scottish lexicographer and philologist. ...

In the end, there were some 800 enthusiastic volunteer readers, but in a paper-and-ink-dependent process, the major drawback was that the choices of the relatively untrained volunteers—regarding what to read and select, what to discard, and how much detail to provide were arbitrary. One prolific contributor, W. C. Minor, Murray later learned, was an inmate of the Broadmoor Asylum for the Criminally Insane. As months and years passed, the project languished; Furnivall began losing track of assistants, some of whom assumed the project abandoned; others died and their slips went unreturned. Later, the entire set of quotation slips for words starting with H was found in Tuscany; others were assumed to be waste paper and burned as tinder. William Chester Minor (W. C. Minor) (June 1834–March 26, 1920) was an American surgeon who made many scholarly contributions to the Oxford English Dictionary while confined to a lunatic asylum. ... Broadmoor Hospital is a secure mental hospital in Crowthorne in Berkshire. ... Tuscany (Italian: ) is one of the 20 Regions of Italy. ... From Old English tynder, easily combustible material used for starting a fire. ...

The Oxford editors

At the same time the Society had become concerned about the publication of what it was now clear would have to be an immensely large book. Various publishers had been approached over the years, either to produce sample pages or for the possible publication of the whole, but no agreements had been reached. Those approached included both the Cambridge University Press and the OUP. The headquarters of the Cambridge University Press, in Trumpington Street, Cambridge. ...

Finally, in 1879, after two years of negotiations involving Sweet and Furnivall as well as Murray, the OUP agreed not only to publish the dictionary but also to pay Murray (who by this time was also president of the Philological Society) a salary as editor. They planned on publishing the work at intervals in fascicles, its final form consisting of four volumes of some 6,400 pages. They hoped to finish it in about ten years.

It was Murray who really got the project off the ground and was able to tackle its true scale. Because he had many children, he chose not to use his house in the London suburb of Mill Hill as a workplace; a corrugated iron outbuilding, which he called the "Scriptorium", lined with wooden planks, was erected for him and his assistants. It was provided with 1,029 pigeon-holes for filing the slips of paper, and many bookshelves. This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... Mill Hill is a place in the London Borough of Barnet. ... Corrugated iron is a building material made by taking sheet iron or steel and pressing it into corrugations to give the flat sheet stiffness without the need for a frame. ... A Scriptorium was a room or building, usually within a Christian monastery where, during medieval times, manuscripts were written. ...

Murray now tracked down and regathered the slips collected by Furnivall, but he found them inadequate because readers had focused on rare and interesting words: he had ten times more quotations for abusion than for abuse. He therefore issued a new appeal for readers, which was widely published in newspapers and distributed in bookshops and libraries. This time readers were specifically asked to report "as many quotations as you can for ordinary words" as well as all of those that seemed "rare, obsolete, old-fashioned, new, peculiar or used in a peculiar way." Murray arranged for the Pennsylvanian philologist, Francis March, to manage the process in North America. Soon 1,000 slips per day were arriving at the Scriptorium, and by 1882 there were 3,500,000 of them. Capital Harrisburg Largest city Philadelphia Area  Ranked 33rd  - Total 46,055 sq mi (119,283 km²)  - Width 280 miles (455 km)  - Length 160 miles (255 km)  - % water 2. ... Francis March (1825-1911) was a polymath, who lived in Pennsylvania, USA. He taught a wide range of subjects at Lafayette College, and published a once well-known thesaurus in 1902. ...

It was February 1, 1884, 23 years after Coleridge's sample pages, when the first portion, or fascicle, of the Dictionary was published. The full title had now become A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles; Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by The Philological Society, and the 352-page volume, covering words from A to Ant, was priced at 12s.6d. The total sales were a disappointing 4,000 copies. February 1 is the 32nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1884 (MDCCCLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Sunday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... The word fascicle derives from the Latin fascis (bundle). Fascicles are the sections of a book, usually a reference work, that because of its length, is issued in parts so that the information may be made available to the public as soon as possible rather than waiting years or decades... Before decimalisation in 1971, a shilling had a value of 12d (old pence), and was equal to 1/20th of a pound: there were 240 (old) pence to the pound. ... For the NBA basketball player with the nickname see Penny Hardaway A variety of low value coins, including an Irish 2p piece and many U.S. pennies. ...

It was now clear to the OUP that it would take much too long to complete the work if the editorial arrangements were not revised. Accordingly they supplied additional funding for assistants, but made two new demands on Murray in return. The first was that he move from Mill Hill to Oxford, which he did in 1885. Again he had a Scriptorium built on his property (to appease a neighbour, this one had to be half-buried in the ground), and the Post Office installed a pillar box directly in front of his house. Oxford is a city and local government district in Oxfordshire, England, with a population of 134,248 ( 2001 census). ... // Collection of British Pillar boxes at the Inkpen Post Box Museum, near Taunton,Somerset In the UK, a pillar box is a free-standing post box where mail is deposited to be collected by the Royal Mail and forwarded to the addressee. ...

The house at 78 Banbury Road, Oxford, erstwhile residence of James Murray, editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. Note the pillar box in front of the house.
The house at 78 Banbury Road, Oxford, erstwhile residence of James Murray, editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. Note the pillar box in front of the house.

Murray was more resistant to the second requirement: that if he could not meet the desired schedule, then he must hire a second senior editor who would work in parallel, outside his supervision, on words from different parts of the alphabet. He did not want to share the work, and felt that it would eventually go faster as he gained experience. But it did not, and eventually Philip Gell of the OUP forced his hand. Henry Bradley, whom Murray had hired as his assistant in 1884, was promoted and began working independently in 1888, in a room at the British Museum in London. In 1896 Bradley moved to Oxford, working at the university itself. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1760x1168, 676 KB) Summary Licensing File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Oxford English Dictionary James Murray (lexicographer) Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1760x1168, 676 KB) Summary Licensing File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Oxford English Dictionary James Murray (lexicographer) Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Sir James Augustus Henry Murray (1837-1915) was a Scottish lexicographer and philologist. ... Henry Bradley (1845-1923) was a Victorian era philologist and lexicographer who succeeded James Murray as senior editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. ... The British Museum in London is one of the worlds greatest museums of human history and culture. ...

Gell continued to harass both editors with the commercial goal of containing costs and speeding production, to the point where the project seemed likely to collapse; but once this was reported in the press, public opinion backed the editors. Gell was then dismissed, and the university reversed his policies on containing costs. If the editors felt that the Dictionary would have to grow larger than had been anticipated, then it would; it was an important enough work that the time and money necessary to finish it properly should be spent.

But neither Murray nor Bradley lived to see it done. Murray died in 1915, having been responsible for words starting with A-D, H-K, O-P and T, or nearly half of the finished dictionary; Bradley died in 1923, having done E-G, L-M, S-Sh, St and W-We. By this time two additional editors had also been promoted from assistant positions to work independently, so the work continued without too much trouble. William Craigie, starting in 1901, was responsible for N, Q-R, Si-Sq, U-V and Wo-Wy; whereas the OUP had previously felt that London was too far from Oxford for the editors to work there, after 1925 Craigie's work on the dictionary was done in Chicago, where he had accepted a professorship. The fourth editor was C. T. Onions, who, starting in 1914, covered the remaining ranges, Su-Sz, Wh-Wo and X-Z. Sir William Alexander Craigie, (August 13, 1867 – September 2, 1957), was a philologist and a lexicographer. ... Nickname: Motto: Urbs In Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location in the Chicago metro area and Illinois Coordinates: , Country United States State Illinois County Cook & DuPage Settled 1770s Incorporated March 4, 1837 Government  - Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) Area  - City  234. ... Charles Talbut Onions (C.T. Onions) (1873-1965) was an English grammarian and lexicographer. ...

The fascicles

By early 1894 a total of 11 fascicles had been published, or about one per year: four for A-B, five for C, and two for E. Of these, eight were 352 pages long, while the last one in each group was shorter to end at the letter break (which would eventually become a volume break). At this point it was decided to publish the work in smaller and more frequent installments: once every three months, beginning in 1895, there would now be a fascicle of 64 pages, priced at 2s.6d. If enough material was ready, 128 or even 192 pages would be published together. This pace was maintained until World War I forced reductions in staff. Each time enough consecutive pages were available, the same material was also published in the original larger fascicles. The word fascicle derives from the Latin fascis (bundle). Fascicles are the sections of a book, usually a reference work, that because of its length, is issued in parts so that the information may be made available to the public as soon as possible rather than waiting years or decades... “The Great War ” redirects here. ...

Also in 1895, the title Oxford English Dictionary (OED) was first used. It then appeared only on the outer covers of the fascicles; the original title was still the official one and was used everywhere else.

The 125th and last fascicle, covering words from Wise to the end of W, was published on April 19, 1928, and the full Dictionary in bound volumes followed immediately. April 19 is the 109th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (110th in leap years). ... Year 1928 (MCMXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

The First Edition and the first Supplement

Publication dates
1888 A A New ED Vol. 1
1893 C NED Vol. 2
1897 D NED Vol. 3
1900 F NED Vol. 4
1901 H NED Vol. 5
1908 L NED Vol. 6
1909 O NED Vol. 7
1914 Q NED Vol. 8
1919 Si NED Vol. 9/1
1919 Su NED Vol. 9/2
1926 Ti NED Vol. 10/1
1928 V NED Vol. 10/2
1928 all NED 12 vols.
1933 &sup Oxford ED 13 vols.
1972 A OED Sup. Vol. 1
1976 H OED Sup. Vol. 2
1982 O OED Sup. Vol. 3
1986 Sea OED Sup. Vol. 4
1989 all OED 2nd Ed. 20 vols.
1993 all OED Add. Ser. Vols. 1–2
1997 all OED Add. Ser. Vol. 3

It had been planned to publish the New English Dictionary in ten volumes, starting with A, C, D, F, H, L, O, Q, Si, and Ti; but as the project proceeded, the later volumes became larger and larger, and, while the full 1928 edition officially retained the intended numbering, Volumes IX and X were published as two "half-volumes" each, split at Su and V respectively. The entire edition was also available as a set of 20 half-volumes, with two choices of binding. The price was 50 or 55 guineas (£52.10s or £57.15s) depending on the format and binding. The dictionary covered 414,825 words backed by five million quotations, of which some two million were actually printed in the dictionary text.

It had been 44 years since the publication of A-Ant and, of course, the English language had continued to develop and change. So by this time the early volumes were noticeably out of date. The solution was for the same teams to produce a Supplement, listing all words and senses that had developed since the relevant pages were first printed; this also gave the opportunity to correct any errors or omissions. Purchasers of the 1928 edition were promised a free copy of the supplement when it appeared.

The supplement was again produced by two editors working in parallel. Craigie, now being in the United States, did most of the research on American English usages; he also edited L-R and U-Z, while Onions did A-K and S-T. The work took another five years. For other uses, see American English (disambiguation). ...

In 1933 the entire dictionary was reissued, now officially under the title of Oxford English Dictionary for the first time. The volumes after the first six were adjusted to equalize them somewhat and eliminate the "half-volume" numbering: the main dictionary now consisted of 12 volumes, numbered as such, and starting at A, C, D, F, H, L, N, Poyesye, S, Sole, T, and V. The supplement was included as the 13th volume. The price of the dictionary was reduced to 20 guineas (£21).

The second Supplement and the Second Edition

In 1933 Oxford University had finally put the Dictionary to rest; all work ended, and the quotation slips went into storage. But of course the English language continued to change, and by the time 20 years had passed, the Dictionary was outdated. The University of Oxford (usually abbreviated as Oxon. ...

There were three possible ways to update it. The cheapest would have been to leave the existing work alone and simply compile a new supplement, of perhaps one or two volumes; but then anyone looking for a word or sense and unsure of its age would have to look in three different places. The most convenient choice for the user would have been for the entire dictionary to be re-edited and retypeset, with each change included in its proper alphabetical place; but of course this would be most expensive, with perhaps 15 volumes to be produced. The OUP chose a middle approach: combining the new material with the existing supplement to form a larger replacement supplement. This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...

Robert Burchfield was hired in 1957 to edit it; Onions, who turned 84 that year, was still able to make some contributions as well. Burchfield emphasized the inclusion of modern-day language, and through the supplement the dictionary was expanded to include a wealth of new words from the burgeoning fields of science and technology, as well as popular culture and colloquial speech. Burchfield also broadened the scope to include developments of the language in English-speaking regions beyond the United Kingdom, including North America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, and the Caribbean. The work was expected to take seven to ten years. It actually took 29 years, by which time the new supplement (OEDS) had grown to four volumes, starting with A, H, O and Sea. They were published in 1972, 1976, 1982, and 1986 respectively, bringing the complete dictionary to 16 volumes, or 17 counting the first supplement. Robert William Burchfield (January 27, 1923 - July 5, 2004) was a scholar, writer, and lexicographer. ... Charles Talbut Onions (C.T. Onions) (1873-1965) was an English grammarian and lexicographer. ...

But by this time it was clear that the full text of the Dictionary now needed to be computerized. Achieving this would still require retyping it once, but thereafter it would always be accessible for computer searching — as well as for whatever new editions of the dictionary might be desired, starting with an integration of the supplementary volumes and the main text. Preparation for this began in 1983 and editorial work started the following year under the administrative direction of Timothy J. Benbow, and with John A. Simpson and Edmund S. C. Weiner as co-editors. John (Andrew) Simpson  (b. ...

Editing an entry of the NOED using LEXX
Editing an entry of the NOED using LEXX

And so the New Oxford English Dictionary (NOED) project began. More than 120 keyboarders of International Computaprint Corporation in Tampa, Florida, and Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, USA, started keying in over 350,000,000 characters, their work checked by 55 proof-readers in England. But, retyping the text alone was not sufficient; all the information represented by the complex typography of the original dictionary had to be retained, which was done by marking up the content in SGML; and a specialized search engine and display software were also needed to access it. Under a 1985 agreement, some of this software work was done at the University of Waterloo, Canada, at the Centre for the New Oxford English Dictionary, led by F.W. Tompa and Gaston Gonnet; this search technology went on to be the basis for Open Text Corporation. Computer hardware, database and other software, development managers, and programmers for the project were donated by the British subsidiary of IBM; the colour syntax-directed editor for the project, LEXX, was written by Mike Cowlishaw of IBM. The University of Waterloo, in Canada, volunteered to design the database. A. Walton Litz, an English professor at Princeton University who served on the Oxford University Press advisory council, told Paul Gray for TIME (March 27, 1989), "I've never been associated with a project, I've never even heard of a project, that was so incredibly complicated and that met every deadline." LEXX Editor for the OED, sample entry (segment of) This is a front-of-screen photograph from a 3279 mainframe-attached screen, taken with an Olympus (I think) 35mm camera in late 1985 or early 1986. ... Tampas skyline For alternate meanings, see Tampa (disambiguation) Tampa is a city located in Hillsborough County on the west coast of Florida. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Markup refers to the use of a markup language to describe the structure and appearance of a particular document. ... The Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) is a metalanguage in which one can define markup languages for documents. ... Google search is the worlds most popular search engine. ... The University of Waterloo (also referred to as UW, UWaterloo, or Waterloo) is a medium-sized research-intensive public university in the city of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. ... Gastón H. Gonnet is a Uruguayan computer scientist and entrepreneur. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... International Business Machines Corporation (known as IBM or Big Blue; NYSE: IBM) is a multinational computer technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, USA. The company is one of the few information technology companies with a continuous history dating back to the 19th century. ... Mike Cowlishaw is an IBM Fellow based at IBM UK’s Warwick location, a Visiting Professor at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Warwick, and an elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (roughly the equivalent of the NAE in the USA). ... March 27 is the 86th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (87th in leap years). ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ...

By 1989 the NOED project had achieved its primary goals, and the editors, working online, had successfully combined the original text, Burchfield's supplement, and a small amount of newer material into a single unified dictionary. The word "new" was again dropped from the name, and the Second Edition of the OED, or the OED2, was published. (The first edition retronymically became the OED1.) A retronym is a type of neologism coined for an old object or concept whose original name has come to be used for something else, is no longer unique, or is otherwise inappropriate or misleading. ...

The OED2 was printed in 20 volumes. For the first time there was no attempt to start them on letter boundaries, and they were made roughly equal in size. The 20 volumes started with A, B.B.C., Cham, Creel, Dvandva, Follow, Hat, Interval, Look, Moul, Ow, Poise, Quemadero, Rob, Ser, Soot, Su, Thru, Unemancipated, and Wave.

Although the content of the OED2 is mostly just a reorganization of the earlier corpus, the retypesetting provided an opportunity for two long-needed format changes. The headword of each entry was no longer capitalized, allowing the user to readily see those words that actually require a capital letter. And whereas Murray had devised his own notation for pronunciation, there being no standard one at the time, the OED2 adopted today's International Phonetic Alphabet. Unlike the earlier edition, all foreign alphabets except Greek were transliterated. Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ...

When the print version of the second edition was published in 1989, the response was enthusiastic. The author Anthony Burgess declared it "the greatest publishing event of the century," as quoted by Dan Fisher for the Los Angeles Times (March 25, 1989). TIME dubbed the book "a scholarly Everest," and Richard Boston, writing for the London Guardian (March 24, 1989), called it "one of the wonders of the world." is the 84th day of the year (85th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... Richard Boston on the cover of his book Starkness at Noon Richard Boston (29 December 1938 – 22 December 2006) was an English journalist and author, he was a rigorous dissenter and a belligerent pacifist. ... is the 83rd day of the year (84th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ...

New material was published in the Oxford English Dictionary Additions Series, two small volumes in 1993, and a third in 1997, bringing the dictionary to a total of 23 volumes. Each of the supplements added about 3,000 new definitions. However, no more Additions volumes are planned, and it is not expected that any part of the Third Edition, or OED3, will be printed in fascicles.

The Compact Editions

Meanwhile, in 1971, the full content of the 13-volume OED1 from 1933 was reprinted as a Compact Edition of just two volumes. This was achieved by photographically reducing each page to ½ its original linear dimensions, so that four original pages were shown on each page ("4-up" format). The two volumes started at A and P, with the Supplement included at the end of the second volume.

The Compact Edition was sold in a case that also included, in a small drawer, a magnifying glass to help users read the reduced type. Many copies were sold through book clubs, which distributed them cheaply to their members. A magnifying glass is a single convex lens which is used to see girls better it is wonderful i love eating it is so tasty a mg is used also toproduce a magnified image of an object. ... A book club is a club where people usually meet to discuss a book that they have read and express their opinions, likes, dislikes, etc. ...

In 1987 the second Supplement was published as a third volume in the same Compact Edition format. For the OED2, in 1991, the Compact Edition format was changed to ⅓ of the original linear dimensions (9-up), requiring stronger magnification but also allowing the entire dictionary to be published in a single volume for the first time. Even after these volumes had been published, though, book club offers commonly continued to feature the two-volume 1971 Compact Edition. It is common to read comments praising this earlier edition for its better readability (larger text) and convenience (two smaller volumes), besides the quality of the case and the existence of the magnifying glass drawer in it.

The electronic versions

Screenshot of the first CD-ROM edition of the OED
Screenshot of the first CD-ROM edition of the OED

Now that the text of the dictionary was digitized and online, it could also be published on CD-ROM. The text of the First Edition was made available in 1988. Afterward, three versions of the second edition were issued. Version 1 (1992) was identical in content to the printed Second Edition, and the CD itself was not copy-protected. Version 2 (1999) had some additions to the corpus, and updated software with improved searching features, but had clumsy copy-protection that made it difficult to use and would even cause the program to deny use to OUP staff in the middle of demonstrations of the product. Version 3 (2002) has additional words and software improvements, though its copy-protection is still as unforgiving as that of the earlier version, and it is available for Microsoft Windows only. Download high resolution version (603x707, 18 KB)Oxford English Dictionary CD-ROM Version 1 screenshot. ... Download high resolution version (603x707, 18 KB)Oxford English Dictionary CD-ROM Version 1 screenshot. ... The CD-ROM (an abbreviation for Compact Disc Read-Only Memory (ROM)) is a non-volatile optical data storage medium using the same physical format as audio compact discs, readable by a computer with a CD-ROM drive. ... Microsoft Windows is the name of several families of proprietary software operating systems by Microsoft. ...

Single-click access to Oxford dictionaries is also available with Babylon Translator, which provides access to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary and Thesaurus with 240,000 definitions and 365,000 synonyms and antonyms.[1] Babylon is a single-click translation utility and also information source tool. ...

Screenshot of OED Online

On March 14, 2000, the Oxford English Dictionary Online (OED Online) became available to subscribers.[2] The online database contains the entire OED2 and is updated quarterly with revisions that will be included in the OED3 (see below). The online edition is the most up-to-date one available. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (509x622, 29 KB)Screenshot of an OED Online entry following a redesign in August 2005. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (509x622, 29 KB)Screenshot of an OED Online entry following a redesign in August 2005. ... March 14 is the 73rd day of the year (74th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

As the price for an individual to use this edition, even after a reduction in 2004, is £195 or $295 US every year, most subscribers are large organizations such as universities. Some of them do not use the Oxford English Dictionary Online portal and have legally downloaded the entire database into their organization's computers. Some public libraries and companies have subscribed as well, including, in March and April 2006, most public libraries in England and Wales[3] and New Zealand;[4][5] any person belonging to a library subscribing to the service is able to use the service from their own home.

A slightly more appealing method of payment was also introduced in 2004, offering residents of North or South America the opportunity to pay $29.95 US a month to access the online site.

The Third Edition

The planned Third Edition, or OED3, is intended as a nearly complete overhaul of the work. Each word is being examined and revised to improve the accuracy of the definitions, derivations, pronunciations, and historical quotations—a task requiring the efforts of a staff consisting of more than 300 scholars, researchers, readers, and consultants, and projected to cost about $55 million. The end result is expected to double the overall length of the text. The style of the dictionary will also be changing slightly. The original text was more literary, in that most of the quotations were taken from novels, plays, and other literary sources. The new edition, however, will make reference to all manner of printed resources, such as cookbooks, wills, technical manuals, specialist journals, and rock lyrics. The pace of inclusion of new words has been increased as well, to the rate of about 4,000 per year.

New content can be viewed through the OED Online or on the periodically updated CD-ROM edition. It is possible that the OED3 will never be printed conventionally, but will be available only electronically. That will be a decision for the future, when it is nearer completion.

As of 1993, John Simpson is the Chief Editor. Since the first work by each editor tends to require more revision than his later, more polished work, it was decided to balance out this effect by performing the early, and perhaps itself less polished, work of this revision pass at a letter other than A. Accordingly, the main work of the OED3 has been proceeding in sequence from the letter M. When the OED Online was launched in March 2000, it included the first batch of revised entries (officially described as draft entries), stretching from M to mahurat, and successive sections of text have since been released on a quarterly basis; by June 2007, the revised section had reached proteose. As new work is done on words in other parts of the alphabet, this is also included in each quarterly release. John (Andrew) Simpson  (b. ...

The production of the new edition takes full advantage of computers, particularly since the June 2005 inauguration of the whimsically named "Perfect All-Singing All-Dancing Editorial and Notation Application", or "Pasadena." With this XML-based system, the attention of lexicographers can be directed more to matters of content than to presentation issues such as the numbering of definitions. The new system has also simplified the use of the quotations database, and enabled staff in New York to work directly on the Dictionary in the same way as their Oxford-based counterparts.[6] The musical film is a film genre in which several songs sung by the characters are interwoven into the narrative. ... Notepad is the standard text editor for Microsoft Windows A text editor is a piece of computer software for editing plain text. ... Annotation is extra information associated with a particular point in a document or other piece of information. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... The Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a general-purpose markup language. ...

Other important computer uses include internet searches for evidence of current usage, and e-mail submissions of quotations by readers and the general public.

Wordhunt was a 2005 appeal to the general public for help in providing citations for 50 selected recent words, and produced antedatings for many. The results were reported in a BBC TV series, Balderdash and Piffle. Thus, the OED’s small army of devoted readers continue to contribute quotations; the department currently receives about 200,000 a year. Balderdash & Piffle is a BBC2 series looking at the origins of words and phrases in the English language. ... Balderdash and Piffle is a British television programme made by Takeaway Media for the BBC. Presented by Victoria Coren, it is a companion to the Oxford English Dictionarys Wordhunt, in which the writers of the dictionary asked the public for help in finding the origins and first known citations...


Main article: Oxford spelling

The OED lists British headword spellings (e.g. labour, centre), variants follow (labor, center, etc.). OUP policy dictates that -ize suffixes be favoured (instead of -ise) for words more commonly ending in -ise in British English, even if the root is Latin rather than Greek, e.g. realize vs realise and globalization vs globalisation. The rationale is partly linguistic, that the English suffix mainly derives from the Greek suffix -izo, however, that -ze also is an Americanism in the fact that the -ze suffix has crept into words where it did not originally belong, as with analyse (British English), which is spelt analyze in American English [1]. Read more about -ize vs -ise. Oxford spelling is the spelling used in the editorial practice of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and other English language dictionaries based on the OED, for example the Concise Oxford English Dictionary. ... American and British English spelling differences are one aspect of American and British English differences. ...

The sentence "The group analysed labour statistics published by the organization" is an example of OUP practice. This spelling (indicated with the registered IANA language tag en-GB-oed) is used by the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the International Organization for Standardization, and many British academic publications, such as Nature, the Biochemical Journal, and The Times Literary Supplement. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is the entity that oversees global IP address allocation, DNS root zone management, and other Internet protocol assignments. ... The foundation of the U.N. The United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are to facilitate co-operation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress and human rights issues. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Nature is one of the most prominent scientific journals, first published on 4 November 1869. ... Cover of the Biochemical Journal The Biochemical Journal, published by Portland Press on behalf of the Biochemical Society, covers all aspects of biochemistry as well as cell and molecular biology. ... The Times Literary Supplement (or TLS) is a weekly literary review published in London by News International, a subsidiary of News Corporation. ...


  • J. R. R. Tolkien once was an OED employee researching etymologies of the Waggle to Warlock range; he parodied the principal editors as "The Four Wise Clerks of Oxenford" in the story Farmer Giles of Ham.
  • Julian Barnes also was an employee; he disliked the work.
  • The early modern English prose of Sir Thomas Browne is the most frequently quoted source of neologisms.
  • William Shakespeare is the most-quoted writer, with Hamlet his most-quoted work.
  • George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) is the most-quoted woman.
  • Collectively, translations of the Bible make it the most-quoted work; the most-quoted single work is Cursor Mundi.
  • Dr. W. C. Minor was one of the most prolific early contributors as a reader. Whilst imprisoned in a criminal lunatic asylum, he invented his own quotation-tracking system, so that he could then submit his slips upon the editors' request.
  • Tim Bray, co-creator of the Extensible Markup Language (XML), credits the OED as the developing inspiration of that web language.
  • The word with the longest entry is the verb set. The OED describes some 430 senses, defining them in a 60,000 word entry.
  • It would take a person 120 years to type the 59 million words of the OED second edition and 60 years to proofread it, and 540 MB to electronically store it. [2]
  • The British quiz show Countdown has awarded the leather-bound complete version to the champions of each series since its inception in 1982.
  • The taboo words fuck and cunt did not appear in any English dictionary between 1795 and 1965; they first appeared in the OED in 1972.
  • While large, the OED is not the world's largest dictionary; the distinction is the Dutch's Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal, of similar goals, and completed after twice as long a time.
  • In 2007, the word wiki was added, referring to Internet use rather than to its original Hawai'ian language meaning.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien CBE (January 3, 1892 – September 2, 1973) was an English philologist, writer and university professor, best known as the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. ... Farmer Giles of Ham (written in 1947, published in 1949) is a short story written by J. R. R. Tolkien. ... Barnes as Francophile and Francophone in Bernard Pivots Double je (France 2, March 2005) Julian Patrick Barnes (born January 19, 1946 in Leicester) is a contemporary English writer whose novels and short stories have been seen as examples of postmodernism in literature. ... Sir Thomas Browne (October 19, 1605 – October 19, 1682) was an English author of varied works that disclose his wide learning in diverse fields including medicine, religion, science and the esoteric. ... This article cites very few or no references or sources. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Hamlet and Horatio in the cemetery by Eugène Delacroix For other uses, see Hamlet (disambiguation). ... George Eliots birthplace at South Farm, Arbury Mary Anne Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880), better known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist. ... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library. ... Cursor Mundi (Latin, Runner of the World) is a lengthy religious history written around 1300 AD by an anonymous cleric. ... William Chester Minor (W. C. Minor) (June 1834–March 26, 1920) was an American surgeon who made many scholarly contributions to the Oxford English Dictionary while confined to a lunatic asylum. ... Timothy William Bray (born 1955), commonly known as Tim Bray, co-invented XML and XML namespaces while an Invited Expert at the World Wide Web Consortium between 1996 and 1999. ... The Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a general-purpose markup language. ... ReBoot character, see Megabyte (ReBoot). ... Richard Twice Nightly Whiteley Countdown is a British game show presented by Des OConnor and Carol Vorderman. ... A list of champions of the game show Countdown. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Cunt is an English vulgarism most commonly used in reference to the human vulva or vagina and, more generally, the pubis, from the mons veneris to the perineum. ... Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal (English: Dictionary of the Dutch language) is a dictionary of the Dutch language which claims to be the largest dictionary in the world. ... Look up Wiki in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

See also

Concise Oxford English Dictionary (until 2002 officially entitled The Concise Oxford Dictionary, and widely known by the abbrevation COD) is probably the best-known of the smaller Oxford dictionaries. ... A copy of the 2001 issue of the NODE The Oxford Dictionary of English (formerly The New Oxford Dictionary of English, often abbreviated to NODE) is a single-volume English language dictionary first published in 1998 by the Oxford University Press. ... The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, often abbreviated to SOED, is a scaled-down version of the Oxford English Dictionary. ...


  1. ^ Babylon Translator
  2. ^ Juliet New (March 22, 2000). "'The world's greatest dictionary' goes online". Ariadne (23). ISSN 1361-3200. Retrieved on 2007-03-18. ,
  3. ^ Oxford Online in English Public Libraries
  4. ^ New Zealand procurement
  5. ^ OED on-line New Zealand
  6. ^ Liz Thompson. "Pasadena: A Brand New System for the OED" (PDF), Oxford English Dictionary News, Oxford University Press, December 2005, p. 4. Retrieved on 2007-03-15. 

March 22 is the 81st day of the year (82nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... ISSN, or International Standard Serial Number, is the unique eight-digit number applied to a periodical publication including electronic serials. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 77th day of the year (78th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... March 15 is the 74th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (75th in leap years). ...

Further reading

  • Oxford English Dictionary, second edition, edited by John Simpson and Edmund Weiner, Clarendon Press, 1989, twenty volumes, hardcover, ISBN 0-19-861186-2.
  • Caught in the Web of Words: J. A. H. Murray and the Oxford English Dictionary, by K. M. Elisabeth Murray, Oxford University Press and Yale University Press, 1977; new edition 2001, Yale University Press, trade paperback, ISBN 0-300-08919-8.
  • Empire of Words: The Reign of the Oxford English Dictionary, by John Willinsky, Princeton University Press, 1995, hardcover, ISBN 0-691-03719-1.
  • The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary, Simon Winchester, Oxford University Press, 2003, hardcover, ISBN 0-19-860702-4.
  • (UK title) The Surgeon of Crowthorne / (US title) The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of The Oxford English Dictionary, by Simon Winchester; see The Surgeon of Crowthorne for full details of the various editions.
  • Lost for Words: The Hidden History of the Oxford English Dictionary, by Lynda Mugglestone, Yale University Press, 2005, hardcover, ISBN 0-300-10699-8.
  • The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary, by Peter Gulliver, Jeremy Marshall, and Edmund Weiner, Oxford University Press, 2006, hardcover, ISBN 0-19-861069-6.

For a wider view of the history of dictionaries see: Simon Winchester, OBE (born September 28, 1944), is a British author and journalist. ... The Surgeon of Crowthorne: A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Love of Words is a book by Simon Winchester. ... James Gleick (August 1, 1954– ) is an author, journalist, and biographer, whose books explore the cultural ramifications of science and technology. ... The New York Times is an internationally known daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed in the United States and many other nations worldwide. ... November 5 is the 309th day of the year (310th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 56 days remaining. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ...

  • Green, Jonathon, Chasing the Sun: Dictionary Makers and the Dictionaries They Made, Jonathon Green, Jonathan Cape, 1996, hardcover, ISBN 0-224-04010-3.

External links

  Results from FactBites:
1879 - 1928 Oxford English Dictionary (275 words)
The plan was to create a vast and comprehensive collection of English words, those from the Early Middle English period (1150) onwards, a lexicon of the language more complete than any English dictionary-maker had ever attempted.
The idea was formulated by the Philological Society, a group that investigated the structure and history of languages - from the dialects of Papuan tribes to the lingo of Australian emigrants.
In 1857, recognising the gaps that existed in other English dictionaries, the society decided that a new project should examine the whole treasure trove of English words, including those that had been rejected or left unnoticed by other lexicographers.
2000 - Oxford English Dictionary Online (358 words)
The very idea of the 'Oxford English Dictionary' is enormously complicated - if its aim is to record every significant word in the history of the English language, then it can never rest.
The English language is constantly evolving and mutating, and in a world packed with text messages, websites, science fiction, technological advances, new fashions, pop genres and foods, the growth of language is going haywire, and the lexicographers have their work cut out.
The 'Oxford English Dictionary online' holds many other advantages over the paper version.
  More results at FactBites »



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