Oxford English Dictionary

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Oxford English Dictionary

(OED) great multi-volume historical dictionary of English. [Br. Hist.: Caught in the Web of Words]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
OED Online carries approximately half-a-million words.
OED Online also unveils a new search engine, making it possible to track down a number of specifically related words.
OED online - the web address is www.oed.com - is a subscription service with companies and institutions paying upwards of pounds 1,000 a year to use the system.
The OED online gives a slightly more exhaustive description of the Old English -ish and defines it as
The ME suffix -ish has been briefly treated by Jespersen (1942), Fisiak (1965, 1968 [2004]), Marchand (1969), OED online, Dalton-Puffer (1996) and the MED online.
Jespersen (1942: 323), Fisiak (1965: 65, 69, 1968 [2004]: 110), Marchand (1969: 243-244) and the OED online note that in Middle English the suffix -ish started to derive adjectives also from other adjectives and illustrate it with a few examples.
OED online = The Oxford English dictionary.<http://lib.amu.edu.pl/bazy/filologia.php> Wright, Joseph--Elizabeth Mary Wright 1914 Old English grammar.
(The photographic reductions of the OED with which many dictionary lovers are familiar--two volumes for the first edition and three for the second, accompanied by a magnifying glass--aren't on the same scale, but still look quite handsome on the shelf.) The fact is, however, that the OED Online is the last word in space saving and portability, as well as lexicography.
Even OED Online enthusiasts concede that many things immediately evident in the printed book are obscured or not apparent on the screen: the length of an entry, which may stretch over several columns and pages; the relationship between one entry and its neighbors; the variation in page count among the letters--in the first edition, C has a massive single volume all to itself, the same size as the one devoted to all of V, W, X, Y, and Z.
While this three-word term doesn't appear in dictionaries, the two-word SENIOR MOMENT is listed in the OED Online, and the three-word term appears in two of the associated illustrative quotations.
DESOXALATE appears in both the OED Online and Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition (W2).
While TELAMON is listed in W3 and OED Online, the adjectival TELAMONIAN only appears in a number of illustrative quotations in the OED Online.