News and Events: Archive:

Oxford English Dictionary NOW on Libraries Website

If you've got to figure out where a word came from, what it means, and what it's meant through different time periods, a new Libraries resource will let you do so without leaving your PC.

The Libraries have acquired the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Online. The Oxford English Dictionary is perhaps the pre-eminent dictionary of the English language. It is an historical dictionary, covering the language from its beginnings to the present. In addition to current definitions, it traces the development of words–thus readers of earlier texts turn to the OED to find out what words meant at different periods. Entries include etymologies and quotations–drawn from literary, historical, and scientific sources–illustrating a word's meaning and use.

The OED Online is based on the second edition of the printed work and its three-volume Additions series, and also incorporates draft material and revisions for the third edition (projected to be completed in 2010). The online version allows searching of the entire text of the dictionary–that is, one can search not merely for "head words" (the words being defined), but also for words used in definitions, etymologies, and illustrative quotations. One can also search by the author of quotations (more than 29,000 Shakespeare quotations!), and search for full phrases.

Users may access the OED Online from the frontpage of the Libraries website by following the path: Electronic Reference Sources / Dictionaries, Encyclopedias & Almanacs / English Language Dictionaries & Thesauri.

Posted Dec. 1, 2000