Completion of first edition and first supplement
The 125th and last fascicle covered words from ''Wise'' to the end of ''W'' and was published on 19 April 1928, and the full dictionary in bound volumes followed immediately.
William Shakespeare ( 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's natio ... is the most-quoted writer in the completed dictionary, with '' Hamlet
''The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark'', often shortened to ''Hamlet'' (), is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare sometime between 1599 and 1601. It is Shakespeare's longest play, with 29,551 words. Set in Denmark, the play depic ...'' his most-quoted work. George Eliot
Mary Ann Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880; alternatively Mary Anne or Marian), known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, poet, journalist, translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She wrot ... (Mary Ann Evans) is the most-quoted female writer. Collectively, the Bible
The Bible (from Koine Greek , , 'the books') is a collection of religious texts or scriptures that are held to be sacredness, sacred in Christianity, Judaism, Samaritanism, and many other religions. The Bible is an anthologya compilation of ... is the most-quoted work (in many translations); the most-quoted single work is '' Cursor Mundi''.
Additional material for a given letter range continued to be gathered after the corresponding fascicle was printed, with a view towards inclusion in a supplement or revised edition. A one-volume supplement of such material was published in 1933, with entries weighted towards the start of the alphabet where the fascicles were decades old. The supplement included at least one word (''bondmaid'') accidentally omitted when its slips were misplaced; many words and senses newly coined (famously '' appendicitis
Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix. Symptoms commonly include right lower abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and decreased appetite. However, approximately 40% of people do not have these typical symptoms. Severe complications of a r ...'', coined in 1886 and missing from the 1885 fascicle, which came to prominence when Edward VII
Edward VII (Albert Edward; 9 November 1841 – 6 May 1910) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India, from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910.
The second child and eldest son of Queen Victoria a ...'s 1902 appendicitis postponed his coronation); and some previously excluded as too obscure (notoriously '' radium
Radium is a chemical element with the symbol Ra and atomic number 88. It is the sixth element in group 2 of the periodic table, also known as the alkaline earth metals. Pure radium is silvery-white, but it readily reacts with nitrogen (rather ...'', omitted in 1903, months before its discoverers Pierre and Marie Curie
Marie Salomea Skłodowska–Curie ( , , ; born Maria Salomea Skłodowska, ; 7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first ... won the Nobel Prize in Physics
, image = Nobel Prize.png
, alt = A golden medallion with an embossed image of a bearded man facing left in profile. To the left of the man is the text "ALFR•" then "NOBEL", and on the right, the text (smaller) "NAT•" then " ....). Also in 1933 the original fascicles of the entire dictionary were re-issued, bound into 12 volumes, under the title "''The Oxford English Dictionary''". This edition of 13 volumes including the supplement was subsequently reprinted in 1961 and 1970.
In 1933, Oxford had finally put the dictionary to rest; all work ended, and the quotation slips went into storage. However, the English language continued to change and, by the time 20 years had passed, the dictionary was outdated.
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 this would have been the most expensive option, with perhaps 15 volumes required to be produced. The OUP chose a middle approach: combining the new material with the existing supplement to form a larger replacement supplement.
Robert Burchfield was hired in 1957 to edit the second supplement; Charles Talbut Onions turned 84 that year but was still able to make some contributions as well. The work on the supplement was expected to take about seven 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.
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 said that he 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. Burchfield also removed, for unknown reasons, many entries that had been added to the 1933 supplement. In 2012, an analysis by lexicographer Sarah Ogilvie revealed that many of these entries were in fact foreign loanwords, despite Burchfield's claim that he included more such words. The proportion was estimated from a sample calculation to amount to 17% of the foreign loan word
A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word at least partly assimilated from one language (the donor language) into another language. This is in contrast to cognates, which are words in two or more languages that are similar because the ...s and words from regional forms of English. Some of these had only a single recorded usage, but many had multiple recorded citations, and it ran against what was thought to be the established ''OED'' editorial practice and a perception that he had opened up the dictionary to "World English".
Revised American edition
This was published in 1968 at $300. There were changes in the arrangement of the volumes – for example volume 7 covered only N–Poy, the remaining "P" entries being transferred to volume 8.
By the time the new supplement was completed, it was clear that the full text of the dictionary would need to be computerized. Achieving this would 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 process began in 1983, and editorial work started the following year under the administrative direction of Timothy J. Benbow, with John A. Simpson and Edmund S. C. Weiner as co-editors.
In 2016, Simpson published his memoir chronicling his years at the OED: ''The Word Detective: Searching for the Meaning of It All at the Oxford English Dictionary – A Memoir'' (New York: Basic Books).
Thus began the ''New Oxford English Dictionary (NOED)'' project. In the United States, more than 120 typists of the International Computaprint Corporation (now Reed Tech) started keying in over 350,000,000 characters, their work checked by 55 proof-readers in England. Retyping the text alone was not sufficient; all the information represented by the complex typography
Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed. The arrangement of type involves selecting typefaces, point sizes, line lengths, line-spacing (leading), and ... of the original dictionary had to be retained, which was done by marking up the content in SGML
The Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML; ISO 8879:1986) is a standard for defining generalized markup languages for documents. ISO 8879 Annex A.1 states that generalized markup is "based on two postulates":
* Declarative: Markup should d .... A specialized search engine
A search engine is a software system designed to carry out web searches. They search the World Wide Web in a systematic way for particular information specified in a textual web search query. The search results are generally presented in ... 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
The University of Waterloo (UWaterloo, UW, or Waterloo) is a public research university with a main campus in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The main campus is on of land adjacent to "Uptown" Waterloo and Waterloo Park. The university also operates ..., Canada, at the ''Centre for the New Oxford English Dictionary'', led by Frank Tompa and Gaston Gonnet; this search technology went on to become the basis for the 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
Mike Cowlishaw is a visiting professor at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Warwick, and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He is a retired IBM Fellow, and was a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technol ... of IBM. The University of Waterloo
The University of Waterloo (UWaterloo, UW, or Waterloo) is a public research university with a main campus in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The main campus is on of land adjacent to "Uptown" Waterloo and Waterloo Park. The university also operates ..., in Canada, volunteered to design the database. A. Walton Litz, an English professor at Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the ni ... who served on the Oxford University Press advisory council, was quoted in ''Time'' as saying "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."
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 retronym
A retronym is a newer name for an existing thing that helps differentiate the original form/version from a more recent one. It is thus a word or phrase created to avoid confusion between older and newer types, whereas previously (before there were ...ically became the ''OED1''.
The ''Oxford English Dictionary 2'' was printed in 20 volumes. [ Up to a very late stage, all the volumes of the first edition were started on letter boundaries. For the second edition, 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''.
The content of the ''OED2'' is mostly just a reorganization of the earlier corpus, but the retypesetting provided an opportunity for two long-needed format changes. The ] headword
In morphology and lexicography, a lemma (plural ''lemmas'' or ''lemmata'') is the canonical form, dictionary form, or citation form of a set of word forms. In English, for example, ''break'', ''breaks'', ''broke'', ''broken'' and ''breaking'' ... of each entry was no longer capitalized, allowing the user to readily see those words that actually require a capital letter. Murray had devised his own notation for pronunciation, there being no standard available at the time, whereas the ''OED2'' adopted the modern International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin script. It was devised by the International Phonetic Association in the late 19th century as a standardized representation o .... Unlike the earlier edition, all foreign alphabets except Greek were transliterated
Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping letters (thus '' trans-'' + '' liter-'') in predictable ways, such as Greek → , Cyrillic → , Greek → the digraph , Armenian → o ....
The British quiz show '' Countdown
A countdown is a sequence of backward counting to indicate the time remaining before an event is scheduled to occur. NASA commonly employs the terms "L-minus" and "T-minus" during the preparation for and anticipation of a rocket launch, and eve ...'' awarded the leather-bound complete version to the champions of each series between its inception in 1982 and Series 63 in 2010. The prize was axed after Series 83, completed in June 2021, due to being considered out of date.
When the print version of the second edition was published in 1989, the response was enthusiastic. Author Anthony Burgess declared it "the greatest publishing event of the century", as quoted by the '' Los Angeles Times
The ''Los Angeles Times'' (abbreviated as ''LA Times'') is a daily newspaper that started publishing in Los Angeles in 1881. Based in the LA-adjacent suburb of El Segundo since 2018, it is the sixth-largest newspaper by circulation in the U ...''. ''Time'' dubbed the book "a scholarly Everest
Mount Everest (; Tibetan: ''Chomolungma'' ; ) is Earth's highest mountain above sea level, located in the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas. The China–Nepal border runs across its summit point. Its elevation (snow heig ...", [ and Richard Boston, writing for ''] The Guardian
''The Guardian'' is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as ''The Manchester Guardian'', and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers ''The Observer'' and '' The Guardian Weekly'', ''The Guardian'' is part of the G ...'', called it "one of the wonders of the world
Various lists of the Wonders of the World have been compiled from antiquity to the present day, in order to catalogue the world's most spectacular natural features and human-built structures.
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is the ...".
The supplements and their integration into the second edition were a great improvement to the ''OED'' as a whole, but it was recognized that most of the entries were still fundamentally unaltered from the first edition. Much of the information in the dictionary published in 1989 was already decades out of date, though the supplements had made good progress towards incorporating new vocabulary. Yet many definitions contained disproven scientific theories, outdated historical information, and moral values that were no longer widely accepted.
Furthermore, the supplements had failed to recognize many words in the existing volumes as obsolete by the time of the second edition's publication, meaning that thousands of words were marked as current despite no recent evidence of their use.
Accordingly, it was recognized that work on a third edition would have to begin to rectify these problems. The first attempt to produce a new edition came with the ''Oxford English Dictionary Additions Series,'' a new set of supplements to complement the ''OED2'' with the intention of producing a third edition from them. The previous supplements appeared in alphabetical instalments, whereas the new series had a full A–Z range of entries within each individual volume, with a complete alphabetical index at the end of all words revised so far, each listed with the volume number which contained the revised entry.
However, in the end only three ''Additions'' volumes were published this way, two in 1993 and one in 1997, each containing about 3,000 new definitions. [ The possibilities of the ] World Wide Web
The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system enabling documents and other web resources to be accessed over the Internet.
Documents and downloadable media are made available to the network through web s ... and new computer technology in general meant that the processes of researching the dictionary and of publishing new and revised entries could be vastly improved. New text search databases offered vastly more material for the editors of the dictionary to work with, and with publication on the Web as a possibility, the editors could publish revised entries much more quickly and easily than ever before. A new approach was called for, and for this reason it was decided to embark on a new, complete revision of the dictionary.
* ''Oxford English Dictionary Additions Series'' Volume 1 (): Includes over 20,000 illustrative quotations showing the evolution of each word or meaning.
:*?th impression (1994-02-10)
* ''Oxford English Dictionary Additions Series'' Volume 2 ()
:*?th impression (1994-02-10)
* ''Oxford English Dictionary Additions Series'' Volume 3 (): Contains 3,000 new words and meanings from around the English-speaking world. Published by Clarendon Press.
:*?th impression (1997-10-09)
Beginning with the launch of the first ''OED Online'' site in 2000, the editors of the dictionary began a major revision project to create a completely revised third edition of the dictionary (''OED3''), expected to be completed in 2037
at a projected cost of about £34 million.
Revisions were started at the letter ''M'', with new material appearing every three months on the ''OED Online'' website. The editors chose to start the revision project from the middle of the dictionary in order that the overall quality of entries be made more even, since the later entries in the ''OED1'' generally tended to be better than the earlier ones. However, in March 2008, the editors announced that they would alternate each quarter between moving forward in the alphabet as before and updating "key English words from across the alphabet, along with the other words which make up the alphabetical cluster surrounding them". With the relaunch of the ''OED Online'' website in December 2010, alphabetical revision was abandoned altogether.
The revision is expected roughly to double the dictionary in size. Apart from general updates to include information on new words and other changes in the language, the third edition brings many other improvements, including changes in formatting and stylistic conventions for easier reading and computerized searching, more etymological information, and a general change of focus away from individual words towards more general coverage of the language as a whole. [ While the original text drew its quotations mainly from literary sources such as novels, plays, and poetry, with additional material from newspapers and academic journals, the new edition will reference more kinds of material that were unavailable to the editors of previous editions, such as wills, inventories, account books, diaries, journals, and letters.]
John Simpson was the first chief editor of the ''OED3''. He retired in 2013 and was replaced by Michael Proffitt, who is the eighth chief editor of the dictionary.
The production of the new edition exploits computer technology, particularly since the inauguration in June 2005 of the "Perfect All-Singing All-Dancing Editorial
An editorial, or leading article (UK) or leader (UK) is an article written by the senior editorial people or publisher of a newspaper, magazine, or any other written document, often unsigned. Australian and major United States newspapers, such ... and Notation Application
Application may refer to:
Mathematics and computing
* Application software, computer software designed to help the user to perform specific tasks
** Application layer, an abstraction layer that specifies protocols and interface methods used in a c ...", or "Pasadena". With this XML-based system, lexicographers can spend less effort on presentation issues such as the numbering of definitions. This 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.
Other important computer uses include internet searches for evidence of current usage and email submissions of quotations by readers and the general public.
New entries and words
'' 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''. The ''OED''s readers contribute quotations: the department currently receives about 200,000 a year.
''OED'' currently contains over 600,000 entries. They update the OED on a quarterly basis to make up for its Third Edition revising their existing entries and adding new words and senses.
In 1971, the 13-volume ''OED1'' (1933) was reprinted as a two-volume ''Compact Edition'', by photographically reducing each page to one-half its linear dimensions; each compact edition page held four ''OED1'' pages in a four-up ("4-up") format. The two-volume letters were ''A'' and ''P''; the first supplement was at the second volume's end. The ''Compact Edition'' included, in a small slip-case drawer, a
Bausch & Lomb
Bausch + Lomb is an eye health products company based in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada. It is one of the world's largest suppliers of contact lenses, lens care products, pharmaceuticals, intraocular lenses, and other eye surgery products. The compa ... magnifying glass to help in reading reduced type. Many copies were inexpensively distributed through book clubs. In 1987, the second supplement was published as a third volume to the ''Compact Edition''.
In 1991, for the 20-volume ''OED2'' (1989), the compact edition format was re-sized to one-third of original linear dimensions, a nine-up ("9-up") format requiring greater magnification, but allowing publication of a single-volume dictionary. It was accompanied by a magnifying glass as before and ''A User's Guide to the "Oxford English Dictionary"'', by Donna Lee Berg. After these volumes were published, though, book club offers commonly continued to sell the two-volume 1971 ''Compact Edition''. [
* The ''Compact Oxford English Dictionary'' (second edition, 1991, ): Includes definitions of 500,000 words, 290,000 main entries, 137,000 pronunciations, 249,300 etymologies, 577,000 cross-references, over 2,412,000 illustrative quotations, and is again accompanied by a magnifying glass.
:*?th impression (1991-12-05)
File:Compact OED.jpg, The ''Compact Oxford English Dictionary'' (second edition, 1991).
File:Compact OED entry.jpg, Part of an entry in the 1991 compact edition, with a centimetre scale showing the very small type sizes used.
Once the dictionary was digitized and online, it was also available to be published on
A CD-ROM (, compact disc read-only memory) is a type of read-only memory consisting of a pre-pressed optical compact disc that contains data. Computers can read—but not write or erase—CD-ROMs. Some CDs, called enhanced CDs, hold both comput .... The text of the first edition was made available in 1987. 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) included the ''Oxford English Dictionary'' ''Additions'' of 1993 and 1997.
Version 3.0 was released in 2002 with additional words from the ''OED3'' and software improvements. Version 3.1.1 (2007) added support for hard disk installation, so that the user does not have to insert the CD to use the dictionary. It has been reported that this version will work on operating systems other than Microsoft Windows
Windows is a group of several proprietary graphical operating system families developed and marketed by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industry. For example, Windows NT for consumers, Windows Server for se ..., using emulation programs. Version 4.0 of the CD has been available since June 2009 and works with Windows 7 and Mac OS X (10.4 or later). This version uses the CD drive for installation, running only from the hard drive.
On 14 March 2000, the ''Oxford English Dictionary Online'' (''OED Online'') became available to subscribers. The online database containing the ''OED2'' is updated quarterly with revisions that will be included in the ''OED3'' (see above). The online edition is the most up-to-date version of the dictionary available. The ''OED'' website is not optimized for mobile devices, but the developers have stated that there are plans to provide an API to facilitate the development of interfaces for querying the ''OED''.
The price for an individual to use this edition is £195 or US$295 a year, even after a reduction in 2004; consequently, most subscribers are large organizations such as universities. Some public libraries and companies have also subscribed, including public libraries in the United Kingdom, where access is funded by the Arts Council, and public libraries in New Zealand. Individuals who belong to a library which subscribes to the service are able to use the service from their own home without charge.
* ''Oxford English Dictionary'' Second edition on CD-ROM Version 3.1:
:*Upgrade version for 3.0 ():
::*?th impression (2005-08-18)
* ''Oxford English Dictionary'' Second edition on CD-ROM Version 4.0: Includes 500,000 words with 2.5 million source quotations, 7,000 new words and meanings. Includes Vocabulary from OED 2nd Edition and all 3 Additions volumes. Supports Windows 2000-7 and Mac OS X 10.4–10.5). Flash-based dictionary.
:*Full version (/)
::*?th impression (2009-06-04)
:*Upgrade version for 2.0 and above (/): Supports Windows only.
::*?th impression (2009-07-15)
:*Print+CD-ROM version (): Supports Windows Vista and Mac OS).
::*?th impression (2009-11-16)
Relationship to other Oxford dictionaries
The ''OED''s utility and renown as a historical dictionary have led to numerous offspring projects and other dictionaries bearing the Oxford name, though not all are directly related to the ''OED'' itself.
Shorter Oxford English Dictionary
The ''Shorter Oxford English Dictionary'' (''SOED'') is an English language dictionary published by the Oxford University Press. The SOED is a two-volume abridgement of the twenty-volume ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'').
Print editions ...,'' originally started in 1902 and completed in 1933, is an abridgement of the full work that retains the historical focus, but does not include any words which were obsolete before 1700 except those used by Shakespeare
William Shakespeare ( 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's nation ..., Milton, Spenser, and the King James Bible
The King James Version (KJV), also the King James Bible (KJB) and the Authorized Version, is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England, which was commissioned in 1604 and published in 1611, by sponsorship of K .... A completely new edition was produced from the ''OED2'' and published in 1993, with revisions in 2002 and 2007.
The ''Concise Oxford Dictionary'' is a different work, which aims to cover current English only, without the historical focus. The original edition, mostly based on the ''OED1'', was edited by Francis George Fowler and Henry Watson Fowler
Henry Watson Fowler (10 March 1858 – 26 December 1933) was an English schoolmaster, lexicographer and commentator on the usage of the English language. He is notable for both '' A Dictionary of Modern English Usage'' and his work on the '' ... and published in 1911, before the main work was completed. Revised editions appeared throughout the twentieth century to keep it up to date with changes in English usage.
''The Pocket Oxford Dictionary of Current English'' was originally conceived by F. G. Fowler and H. W. Fowler to be compressed, compact, and concise. Its primary source is the Oxford English Dictionary, and it is nominally an abridgement of the Concise Oxford Dictionary. It was first published in 1924.
In 1998 the '' New Oxford Dictionary of English'' (''NODE'') was published. While also aiming to cover current English, ''NODE'' was not based on the ''OED''. Instead, it was an entirely new dictionary produced with the aid of corpus linguistics. Once ''NODE'' was published, a similarly brand-new edition of the ''Concise Oxford Dictionary'' followed, this time based on an abridgement of ''NODE'' rather than the ''OED''; ''NODE'' (under the new title of the ''Oxford Dictionary of English'', or ''ODE'') continues to be principal source for Oxford's product line of current-English dictionaries, including the '' New Oxford American Dictionary'', with the ''OED'' now only serving as the basis for scholarly historical dictionaries.
The ''OED'' lists British headword spellings (e.g., ''labour'', ''centre'') with variants following (''labor'', ''center'', etc.). For the suffix more commonly spelt ''-ise'' in British English, OUP policy dictates a preference for the spelling ''-ize'', e.g., ''realize'' vs. ''realise'' and ''globalization'' vs. ''globalisation''. The rationale is etymological, in that the English suffix is mainly derived from the Greek suffix ''-ιζειν'', (''-izein''), or the Latin ''-izāre''. However, ''-ze'' is also sometimes treated as an Americanism insofar as 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.
Reception and criticism
British prime minister
Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, (3 August 186714 December 1947) was a British Conservative Party politician who dominated the government of the United Kingdom between the world wars, serving as prime minister on three occasions, ... described the ''OED'' as a "national treasure". Author Anu Garg
Anu Garg (born April 5, 1967) is an American author and speaker. He is also the founder of Wordsmith.org, an online community comprising word lovers from an estimated 195 countries. His books explore the joy of words. He has authored several book ..., founder of Wordsmith.org, has called it a "lex icon". Tim Bray, co-creator of Extensible Markup Language ( XML), credits the ''OED'' as the developing inspiration of that markup language
Markup language refers to a text-encoding system consisting of a set of symbols inserted in a text document to control its structure, formatting, or the relationship between its parts. Markup is often used to control the display of the documen ....
However, despite its claims of authority, the dictionary has been criticized since the 1960s because of its scope, its claims to authority, its British-centredness and relative neglect of World Englishes, its implied but unacknowledged focus on literary language and, above all, its influence. The ''OED'', as a commercial product, has always had to steer a line between scholarship and marketing. In his review of the 1982 supplement, University of Oxford linguist Roy Harris
Roy Ellsworth Harris (February 12, 1898 – October 1, 1979) was an American composer. He wrote music on American subjects, and is best known for his Symphony No. 3.
Harris was born in Chandler, Oklahoma on February 12, 1898. His ancestry ... writes that criticizing the ''OED'' is extremely difficult because "one is dealing not just with a dictionary but with a national institution", one that "has become, like the English monarchy, virtually immune from criticism in principle". He further notes that neologisms from respected "literary" authors such as Samuel Beckett
Samuel Barclay Beckett (; 13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989) was an Irish novelist, dramatist, short story writer, theatre director, poet, and literary translator. His literary and theatrical work features bleak, impersonal and Tragicomedy, tr ... and Virginia Woolf
Adeline Virginia Woolf (; ; 25 January 1882 28 March 1941) was an English writer, considered one of the most important modernist 20th-century authors and a pioneer in the use of stream of consciousness as a narrative device.
Woolf was born ... are included, whereas usage of words in newspapers or other less "respectable" sources holds less sway, even though they may be commonly used. He writes that the ''OED''s " ack-and-white lexicography is also black-and-white in that it takes upon itself to pronounce authoritatively on the rights and wrongs of usage", faulting the dictionary's prescriptive rather than descriptive
In the study of language, description or descriptive linguistics is the work of objectively analyzing and describing how language is actually used (or how it was used in the past) by a speech community. François & Ponsonnet (2013).
All aca ... usage. To Harris, this prescriptive classification of certain usages as "erroneous" and the complete omission of various forms and usages cumulatively represent the "social bias s of the (presumably well-educated and wealthy) compilers. However, the identification of "erroneous and catachrestic" usages is being removed from third edition entries, sometimes in favour of usage notes describing the attitudes to language which have previously led to these classifications. Another avenue of criticism is the dictionary's non-inclusion of etymologies
Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) – p. 633 "Etymology /ˌɛtɪˈmɒlədʒi/ the study of the class in words and the way their meanings have changed throughout time". is the study of the history of the form of words an ... for words of AAVE or African language origin such as '' jazz
Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its roots in blues and ragtime. Since the 1920s Jazz Age, it has been recognized as a major f ...'', '' dig'' or '' badmouth'' (the latter two are possibly of Wolof and Mandinka languages, respectively). As of 2022, OUP is preparing a specialized ''Oxford Dictionary of African American English'' in collaboration with Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1636 as Harvard College and named for its first benefactor, the Puritan clergyman John Harvard, it is the oldest institution of high ...'s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, with literary critic Henry Louis Gates Jr. being the project's editor-in-chief.
Harris also faults the editors' "donnish conservatism" and their adherence to prudish Victorian morals, citing as an example the non-inclusion of "various centuries-old 'four-letter words until 1972. However, no English dictionary included such words, for fear of possible prosecution under British obscenity laws, until after the conclusion of the ''Lady Chatterley's Lover'' obscenity trial in 1960. The '' Penguin English Dictionary'' of 1965 was the first dictionary that included the word '' fuck
''Fuck'' is an English-language expletive. It often refers to the act of sexual intercourse, but is also commonly used as an intensifier or to convey disdain. While its origin is obscure, it is usually considered to be first attested to aro ...''. Joseph Wright's ''English Dialect Dictionary'' had included '' shit'' in 1905.
The ''OED''s claims of authority have also been questioned by linguists such as Pius ten Hacken, who notes that the dictionary actively strives toward definitiveness and authority but can only achieve those goals in a limited sense, given the difficulties of defining the scope of what it includes.
Founding editor James Murray was also reluctant to include scientific terms, despite their documentation, unless he felt that they were widely enough used. In 1902, he declined to add the word "radium" to the dictionary. [Gross, John, ''The Oxford Book of Parodies'', Oxford University Press, 2010, pg. 319]
* '' Australian Oxford Dictionary''
* '' Canadian Oxford Dictionary''
* '' Compact Oxford English Dictionary of Current English''
Concise Oxford English Dictionary
The ''Concise Oxford English Dictionary'' (officially titled ''The Concise Oxford Dictionary'' until 2002, and widely abbreviated ''COD'' or ''COED'') is probably the best-known of the 'smaller' Oxford dictionaries. The latest edition contains ...''
* '' New Oxford American Dictionary''
* '' Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary
The ''Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary'' (''OALD'') was the first advanced learner's dictionary of English. It was first published in 1948. It is the largest English-language dictionary from Oxford University Press aimed at a non-native au ...''
* '' Shorter Oxford English Dictionary
The ''Shorter Oxford English Dictionary'' (''SOED'') is an English language dictionary published by the Oxford University Press. The SOED is a two-volume abridgement of the twenty-volume ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'').
Print editions ...''
* '' A Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles''
* '' The Australian National Dictionary''
* '' Dictionary of American Regional English''
* (McPherson is Senior Editor of OED)
Archive of documents
A trench is a type of excavation or in the ground that is generally deeper than it is wide (as opposed to a wider gully, or ditch), and narrow compared with its length (as opposed to a simple hole or pit).
In geology, trenches result from ero ...'s origina
"On some deficiencies in our English Dictionaries"
*** Murray's origina
appeal for readers
page of ''OED'' statistics
another such page
** Two from the OED.
* Oxford University Press pages
Additions Series Volume 1
Additions Series Volume 2
Additions Series Volume 3
''The Compact Oxford English Dictionary'' New Edition
20-volume printed set+CD-ROM
CD 3.1 upgrade
CD 4.0 full
CD 4.0 upgrade
The Internet Archive is an American digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge". It provides free public access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, software applications/games, music, ...
:Full title of each volume: ''A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles: Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by the Philological Society''
:''1933 Corrected re-issue''
:Full title of each volume: ''The Oxford English Dictionary: Being a Corrected Re-issue with an Introduction, Supplement and Bibliography, of A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles: Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by the Philological Society''
HathiTrust Digital Library is a large-scale collaborative repository of digital content from research libraries including content digitized via Google Books and the Internet Archive digitization initiatives, as well as content digitized locall ...
* Some volumes (only available from within the USA):
University of Virginia copy
Princeton University copy
University of Michigan copy
1884 non-fiction books
English non-fiction literature
Language software for macOS
Language software for Windows