Peter Gilliver (born 14 June 1964) is a lexicographer and Associate Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary.


Gilliver's parents were both linguists. He attended Barnard Castle School, and has a degree in Mathematics from Jesus College, Cambridge,[1][citation needed] and a qualification in Information Science from Liverpool.

As of 2013, he was responsible for the largest three or four entries in the current electronic revision, including the largest (that for "run", which took him over 9 months and has 645 meanings for the verb form alone).

In 2016 Gilliver published a history of the OED,[2] which took most of the previous decade to write.

He and his partner sing in various choirs, including the Oxford Bach Choir (which they helped to administer for some years), and Fiori Musicali.[3]

Gilliver, a longtime editor who also seems to be the OED’s resident historian, points out that the dictionary feels obliged to include words that many would regard simply as misspellings. No one is particularly proud of the new entry as of December 2003 for nucular, a word not associated with high standards of diction. "Bizarrely, I was amazed to find that the spelling n-u-c-u-l-a-r has decades of history," Gilliver says. "And that is not to be confused with the quite different word, nucular, meaning 'of or relating to a nucule.'"

— "Cyber-neologoliferation", James Gleick, New York Times, 2006[citation needed]



Title Role Production Date
Balderdash and Piffle OED Panel BBC 2006–2007
University Challenge: The Professionals OUP Captain BBC 12 July & 6 September 2004
Imagine: An A-Z of the OED OED Historian BBC 18 Dec 2003



  1. ^ New York Times Magazine, 5 November 2006
  2. ^ A history of the OED, OED News, March 2005
  3. ^ http://www.fiori-musicali.com/

See also

External links