Is it O.E.D. or ode? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:07, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

I have only ever heard O.E.D. (letters pronounced separately). By the way, in the future for questions like this you can turn to the Wikipedia:Reference desk. Lesgles (talk) 08:22, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
I'd beg to differ. I am quite certain it is pronounced "oh-ee-dee". Furthermore, questions regarding the subject of an article, such as the above, should be asked in discussion pages as it allows the editors to gauge what is missing in the article and amend it: for every question asked one can be sure there where umpteen times that number in people wondering the same and not asking. --Squidonius (talk) 21:01, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

You're not begging to differ, you're giving the exact same answer. (talk) 04:54, 8 January 2017 (UTC)

cd screenshot

new screenshot added of cd v4.0 win7 added --Umar1996 (talk) 12:59, 17 October 2010 (UTC)


Since this article is about the Oxford English Dictionary itself, shouldn't it use OED spelling? Bob A (talk) 17:38, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

What did you have in mind? There's an OUP spelling style, but not a specifically OED spelling (it records all spellings, in general). quota (talk) 08:59, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

The appropriate style is the one in use throughout wiki if there is one. If there is not a style, then that is the style that should be used. It is not correct in English to adapt to local styles so for instance we say Paris, not Pahree. If you look at the OED entry for France, it is unlikely it is written in French, so even their style takes that approach.

The Pocket Oxford Dictionary of Current English

Also called the "Pocket Oxford Dictionary" is not on this page. Why is this? Snowman (talk) 08:53, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. From the OUP site there is also: the Compact Oxford Dictionary & Thesaurus; the Oxford Paperback Dictionary & Thesaurus; the Little Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus; the Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus; the Oxford Dictionary of English; the Pocket Oxford English Dictionary; and the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary Deluxe Edition. It would be great if someone could classify all these into some intelligible taxonomy and add it to the article. Oxford University Press seem unwilling/incapable of doing it. (talk) 13:05, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
I have had occasion to consult at least one of those pocket editions and found it to be pretty awful. There's a similar problem with the Merriam-Webster: unabridged (excellent), collegiate (excellent), high-school edition (awful). If we could just find a tactful and diplomatic way of saying that. Zyxwv99 (talk) 14:31, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
I am surprised to note that we do not have edition of Oxford Dictionary that can open in Linux. Linux versions are growing in use and so some dictionary should be available. Pathare Prabhu (talk) 06:55, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

close paraphrasing

Two paragraphs of the article are very close paraphrases of the article on the OED in the Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. Here are the two paragraphs:

Furnivall understood the need for an efficient excerpting system, and instituted several prefatory projects. In 1864, he founded the Early English Text Society, and in 1868, he founded the Chaucer Society for preparing general benefit editions of immediate value to the dictionary project. The compilation lasted 21 years.[citation needed]
Despite the participation of some 800 volunteer readers, the technology of paper-and-ink was the major drawback regarding the arbitrary choices of relatively untrained volunteers about "what to read and select" and "what to discard."[cite this quote][clarification needed]

And here is the relevant text from the Companion:

On his premature death in 1861 at 31, the editorship passed to Furnivall, who realized that an efficient system of excerpting was needed. This meant that for the earlier centuries printed texts had to be prepared of manuscripts not hitherto easily available; he therefore founded in 1864 the Early English Text Society and in 1865 the Chaucer Society, preparing editions of texts of general benefit as well as immediate value to the project. None of this work, however, led to compilation; it was entirely preparatory and lasted for 21 years. There were in the end some 800 voluntary readers. Their enthusiasm was enormous, but in a process which depended on paper and pen alone a major drawback was the often arbitrary choices made by the relatively untrained volunteers regarding what to read and select, what to discard, and how much detail to provide.

I am going to rewrite these two paragraphs both for clarity and to properly cite the source. GabrielF (talk) 17:10, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

Definitions or Descriptions?

@Quota: I don't know what your source is for saying that the OED "doesn't define meanings." The back of my Concise OED (2002) says, "This world-famous dictionary provides a comprehensive description of the English language..."; of course I can't dispute the fact that the OED 'describes' the words it 'defines', but it does also define. Forgive me for quibbling. Throughout the introduction to that dictionary, the authors refer to the entries as 'definitions.' (To delve into nerdiness, it is not clear whether an individual definition refers to the entire entry for a word or just one of the numbered components thereof, which the introduction refers to interchangeably as 'meanings', 'senses', etc. If there are 600,000 entries, there may be 600,000 definitions or there may only be definitions for 600,000 words.) Tdimhcs (talk) 17:55, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

(Sorry about the delay in replying.) You may be confusing the Concise OED with the OED. The former is indeed a 'prescriptive' dictionary (which attempts to offer definitions and decscribe 'correct' usage, etc.). The latter simply documents words, describes their common meanings, and illustrates their usage (whether 'correct' or not). Hope that helps. quota (talk) 13:21, 19 August 2011 (UTC)


I expanded the template, Template:Dictionaries of English, and added it to this article, and a few others. Does this seem useful? should i add pub dates? is it correct in its categorizing?Mercurywoodrose (talk) 06:12, 31 October 2011 (UTC)


It is humorus that reference is made to several foreign dictionaries as preceding the OED, but not Webster's dictionary which was the standard for comprehensive English language dictionaries for much of the 19th century (in both America and England). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:30, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

This doesn't seem substantiated by the entries here according to which there were several English dictionaries that preceded the Oxford project and Webster's was a dictionary of American English and a work of an entirely different order. LookingGlass (talk) 13:13, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

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Correction to Criticisms Section

This message is being posted on behalf of Oxford University Press by whom I am employed. I am asking the community for help with this issue as I am mindful of not violating’s COI guidelines.

There is a factual mistake under the ‘Criticisms’ section of this article where it states ‘The iOS version of the OED has used Twitter account access to falsely accuse legitimate users of pirating the software.’ There is not and has never been an OED app. This statement relates to a temporary problem experienced by some users of a third party app that used non-OED dictionary data licensed from OUP. The article which this statement references is also incorrect in referring to the OED and the original author has been notified.

We get regular customer queries about the availability of an OED app and we do not wish to create any confusion over what products we have available so please could this statement be removed from the OED article? All help is greatly appreciated

Regards, Stephen — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:01, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

Online version(s)?

Hello! What is the difference between OED.com and OxfordDictionaries.com? Thanks! BigSteve (talk) 11:07, 23 November 2012 (UTC)


From the article: "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." This recent Guardian article would seem to call that into question. - Jmabel | Talk 00:51, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Added a brief mention to this article and the piece on Burchfield. A check for other potential sources on this issue reveals that, so far, they are largely derived from the Guardian article. Philip Cross (talk) 11:25, 27 November 2012 (UTC)


Am I just reading too much into it, or does the term "self-styled" seem rather loaded when used the way it is in the opening paragraph? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:25, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

You are too kind, it is snarky in tone. If a criticism needs to be made, it should be in the section provided for that. It is probably an accurate statement, but it is not balanced in tone with the rest of wiki entries where this could be said. Worse for the reputation of is that in some regard they are in competition with the OED, and as such this kind of comment looks self-absorbed, and brings discredit on wiki. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:05, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

This phrasing "...the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language" is insulting. The OED is generally regarded as the premier dictionary of the English language by anyone qualified to express an opinion. Arcanicus (talk) 08:48, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Right, I've been bold and tried to sort this one out. "Self-styled" is innaccurate and insulting and I have removed it. However " THE premier" is debatable, particularly in the USA where Webster's is preferred. I have therefore changed it to ""the premier British dictionary" which I hope is in line with concensus. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 11:34, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

OED as a physicists' source research

Physicists Explore The Rise And Fall Of Words. Apparently, some physicists used the OED as a great example of analyzing words. I think some links to an academic paper about this would improve this article. Komitsuki (talk) 18:13, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

OED2 template

Is there a template specifically for the second edition? I use a copy of it and don't want citations to incorrectly show OED3. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 17:40, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

I've just created {{OED1}} and {{OED2}} for this express purpose. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 21:28, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

New editor

According to http://public.oed.com/oed-editor-retirement-announcement/ John Simpson will soon retire as editor, being replaced (effective 1 November 2013) by Michael Proffitt. Mitch Ames (talk) 10:47, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

Done; article needed though. Johnbod (talk) 11:32, 15 October 2013 (UTC)


I have reverted the unwanted and untruthful edit of editor User:Dougweller regarding the nature of the dictionary. The current online edition states the following: "As a historical dictionary, the OED is very different from those of current English, in which the focus is on present-day meanings." [1] Kind regards to all lovers of truth. (talk) 23:29, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Love it. "I disagree with you so you are a liar". Dougweller (talk) 06:57, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
That is not, as the brief online text from which you drew your quote makes clear, the sole purpose of the OED, nor is "descriptive" an antonym of "historic" - see Dictionary#Prescriptive vs. descriptive. Do you have a source for the progress of the new edition? If so, we could introduce that into the body with a citation and then update the lead; our Manual of Style gives sound guidance on that at WP:LEADCITE. In general, the lead section should summarise and be supported by material in the body of the article.
One thing does puzzle me; which edit did you revert? The only recent edits by Dougweller that I can see are those made after yours. NebY (talk) 09:50, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
An edit I made in May.[2] which modified this[3] edit by the IP. Dougweller (talk) 11:12, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Oh! Thanks, I couldn't see why the IP made all those changes but it's clearer now: they just disregarded the later work of other editors. NebY (talk) 12:07, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

Copyright status

It is very strange that the article has nothing to say about the copyright status of older editions of this essential reference work of the English language. (Is there any free online searchable access to text of older editions?)- (talk) 15:11, 10 November 2014 (UTC)

Afaik, no. Since the majority of the text is unchanged since the 1st edn, OUP would probably not favour that, though it must be out of copyright. If you are in the UK you should be able to get online access at home via your library. Johnbod (talk) 14:03, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

American contributors

It might (or might not) be worthy of note that the two most prolific contribbutors to the first edition were both Americans: Fitzedward Hall and W. C. Minor. (talk) 06:20, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

Criticism section should be more general

The "Criticism" section should be expanded to describe more generally the impact, influence, and overall reception of the OED. (talk) 05:55, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

Which ENGVAR is this article written in?

Anyone have a problem with me adding Template:British English Oxford spelling to the top of this page? It seems that of all articles on English, this is the one that should most be written under these spelling guidelines. Hijiri 88 (やや) 06:02, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Indeed - go ahead! Johnbod (talk) 15:21, 18 January 2016 (UTC)


Dudes OED is not only a dictionary. It's also oral epithelial dysplasia Office of Executive Director Office expiration date Online Event Display operational effectiveness demonstration optical emission detector / optical emission detection (related to optical emission spectroscopy) Optimal experiment design

And probably a good number of other. Do it, it's not my job. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:37, 17 March 2016 (UTC)

... and yet it apparently is your job to search out expansions of initialisms in order to highlight perceived weaknesses in an online encyclopedia. However, as not one of those terms is (currently) the title of an article in, the issue doesn't arise, and disambiguation is unnecessary. Dude. GrindtXX (talk) 12:18, 17 March 2016 (UTC)

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question about Countdown

As I read it, the section on Countdown suggests that the show started giving the 20 volume 2nd edition away as a prize seven years before it was published. (talk) 04:59, 8 January 2017 (UTC)


Surely the claim to be descriptivist is too controversial to be included without comment in the first sentence. Later in the article we see that Oxford University linguist Roy Harris criticised the OED for its prescriptivism. Of course, the OED's editors today are probably descriptivists, just as they say they are. But parts of the OED haven't been fully updated since the 19th century. A modern dictionary - and any descriptivist - will tell you that "in the ascendant" means "rising in power or influence" (ODO). The OED (latest online version) will tell you that this usage of the expression is "erroneous", since "in the ascendant" is supposed to mean "supreme". The OED is in fact full of references to "erroneous" and "incorrect" usages. Similarly, for example, if you look up "each", the usage of the plural verb after the pronoun (as in "Each of these verses have five feet") is described as "incorrect" (OED online, latest). You can agree or disagree with that judgement, but there's nothing descriptivist about it. (talk) 13:46, 9 September 2017 (UTC)

Most entries in the OED haven't been updated at all since the 19th century, and very few "fully". Most changes since the original edition have been additions, and a full review and rewrite process only began in the last few years (starting in the middle of the alphabet); it will take decades to complete at the current rate. Johnbod (talk) 15:03, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
Exactly. That just reinforces my point. To describe it as "a descriptivist dictionary", as does currently, is misleading. The descriptivist nature (or not) of the dictionary must be judged by its current contents, not by its current editorial policy. Besides which, even if "descriptivist" were an accurate description of the current contents, which it isn't, calling the dictionary "descriptivist" would ignore its history, and the article should be about all editions of the OED, not just the most recent. (talk) 15:59, 9 September 2017 (UTC)

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Voluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuminous volumes

With a little twinge of regret, I am about to fix an error introduced by some IP almost a decade ago.

On 12 March 2008, the IP changed "four volumes of some 6,400 pages" to "four, 6,400-page volumes". As I write, this remains "four 6,400-page volumes".

This is pre-computing. It's about codices. Codices each having six thousand four hundred pages. Yeah, right.

I can only infer that in the intervening decade, the readers of this part of the article (and these have included me) have been extraordinarily -- uh, well, I listed some uncomplimentary adjectives here, but some people have thin skins, so perhaps not.

Incidentally, I neither have access to the cited source, nor time now to look through the article for similar horse droppings. -- Hoary (talk) 05:37, 13 February 2018; bowdlerized and augmented 05:44, 13 February 2018 (UTC)

Incorrect definition

After "Ian Paterson (2003). A Dictionary of Colour (1st paperback ed.), London: Thorogood (published 2004), p. 73"

buff is a pale yellowish-brown colour; a light yellow; of the colour of buff leather which having regard to its proximity to human skin colour gave rise to the phrase ‘in the buff’ meaning ‘naked’. Also ‘buff-coloured’.

After "Oxford English Dictionary (OED)"

buff - Of the colour of buff leather; a light brownish yellow.

--Danvasilis (talk) 23:08, 3 June 2019 (UTC)

I'm not sure what edit you are proposing. Looking at the online OED there are two origins of "buff" – one from Old French meaning a blow (hence buffet, buffer and blind-man's-buff), the other from the French "buffle", a buffalo. From the latter meaning (first shown in "buff n2") section I refers to the animal and section II the leather. That section gives three uses: clothing, naked and a polishing wheel. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 08:28, 4 June 2019 (UTC)
I think Danvasilis isn't challenging the OED's etymologies, but its definition: the slight variation between "a light brownish yellow" and "a pale yellowish-brown colour". However, in my opinion those mean pretty much the same thing – or at least, any distinction is so minimal as to be meaningless. Even if the difference were more clear cut, we would have no reason to mention it in the article unless there was an explicit assertion in a reliable secondary source that the OED had got it wrong. GrindtXX (talk) 11:46, 4 June 2019 (UTC)

1933 Issue of 1st Edition

As part of the process of putting together a model citation for the 1933 issue of the 1st Edition I have located the following files. Do they merit inclusion in the article? There is already a table for the 1888-1933 issue of the edition on the page. If it is worthwhile adding, should all the content of the table below be added, or only some columns?

Feedback please, Skullcinema (talk) 11:33, 22 June 2019 (UTC)

Vol. Letters URL Letter page ranges
1 A-B https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.99992 A 1-603/B 604-1240
2 C https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.271839 C 1-1308
3 D-E https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.271840 D 1-740/E 1-488
4 F-G https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.271841 F 1-628/G 1-532
5 H-K https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.147246 H 1-516/I 1-580/J 581-646/K 647-758
6 L-M https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.271836 L 1-528/M 1-820
7 N-Poy https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.99996 N 1-277/O 1-356/P-Poy 357-1216
8 Poy-Ry https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.120831 Poy-Py 1217-1676/Q 1-80/R-Ry 81-936
9 S-Soldo https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.271834 S-Sh 1-800/Si-Soldo 1-386
10 Sole-Sz https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.120833 Sole-St 387-1211/Su-Sz 1-396
11 T-U https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.271837 T-Th 1-404/Ti-Tz 1-565/U 1-493
12 V-Z https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.271838 V 1-332/W-We 1-334/Wh-Wy 1-400/X 1-7/Y 8-83/Z 84-105
Supplement A-Z https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.120834 A-K 1-542/L-Z 1-325
That looks most worthwhile. But I'm surprised to see it there. I hadn't realized that it was in the public domain, and it's not obvious that not being in the public domain would, in practice, stop anyone from uploading it. (After all, we read "Anyone with a free account can upload media to the Internet Archive.") Where is its presence advertised? (How did you know where to find it?) -- Hoary (talk) 13:03, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
The source appears to be within the Indian public libraries system; if you follow any of the links, the information for each of the volumes is included. I couldn't find anything authoritative on the copyright status of the 1st edition of the OED out there (ie definitively stating that it _was_ out of copyright). But as the OED has no authors, only editors and a publisher, I have taken the view that (in the UK at least) the copyright should have expired in 2003 for this issue. Note that the current page already links to content published in 1933 (Supplement) so it is an extension of that policy. I am happy to go with whatever is common policy for the page or across (it's one of the reasons I posted here rather than direct to the article). As for how I found it, it just required a bit of ferreting around in the Internet Archive in order to stitch together a full set of volumes. Skullcinema (talk) 14:47, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
Go ahead and include it. But I think it could be a bit neater. I'd link the volume number, so for example not
1 A-B https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.99992 A 1-603/B 604-1240
but instead
[https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.99992 1] A-B A 1-603/B 604-1240
and there could be better alternatives. -- Hoary (talk) 07:44, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
OK, I'll give it a week from the 22nd for any other comments to come in and then do so. Skullcinema (talk) 10:58, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
You mentioned "putting together a model citation". Have you seen {{Cite OED1}} and the closely related {{Cite OED2}}? Martin of Sheffield (talk) 15:45, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
I hadn't, thank you for pointing them out. I'll take a look at them and make any comments on their respective talk pages if necessary. Skullcinema (talk) 10:58, 25 June 2019 (UTC)

Contested deletion

This page should not be speedily deleted because... (your reason here) --2607:F2C0:E7A2:2C:1E:3CA:63E3:7894 (talk) 23:22, 1 February 2020 (UTC) it is reference material.

Don't worry; it won't be. -- Hoary (talk) 23:29, 1 February 2020 (UTC)