Oxford English Dictionary

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Oxford English Dictionary


(OED), the largest dictionary of the English language. The first edition was published by the Oxford University Press beginning in 1884. It was based on material gathered by the London Philological Society and was called the New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (a second title, Oxford English Dictionary, appeared in the volumes published from 1895). By 1929 ten volumes, covering the letters A to Z, had been published and a supplement appeared in 1933. That year a new 13-voIume edition of the dictionary was published. Called the Oxford English Dictionary, it was virtually a facsimile of the first edition. The dictionary has not been reissued since 1933, although a two-volume abridged version—the Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary—has appeared. The first volume of a projected three-volume supplement came out in 1972.

The Oxford English Dictionary includes all the words in the English literary and spoken language since 1150 and gives a detailed description of their pronunciation and their etymological, semantic, orthographic, and grammatical characteristics. Historical changes in the meaning, spelling, pronunciation, and usage of each word are illustrated by examples, usually citations. The dictionary contains about 500,000 words and includes about 2 million citations from 20,000 works by more than 5,000 authors.

Abridged versions of the dictionary—the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary and the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English—are issued regularly.


Oxford English Dictionary

(OED) great multi-volume historical dictionary of English. [Br. Hist.: Caught in the Web of Words]
References in periodicals archive ?
The Oxford English Dictionary online does not provide the meaning of the Middle English preposition twen(e).
Users of The Oxford English Dictionary Online may rest assured that it is free from spyware ("software that enables information to be gathered covertly about a person's computer activities, passwords"), although that definition has been added in this latest quarterly update.
Words under close scrutiny in the newly revised Oxford English Dictionary Online, available from 14 September, are man and male.
In March 2000, Oxford will take a big step towards that goal by publishing the Oxford English Dictionary ONLINE, which will incorporate at least 1,000 new and revised entries every quarter.

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