Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

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The Oxford English Dictionary is a historical dictionary of English, covering the language from the earliest times to the present day. It shows not only the current meanings of words, but also traces their development through time. Entries contain detailed etymological analysis and are illustrated by quotations from a wide range of English language sources from around the world. For more than a century, the Oxford English Dictionary has been the undisputed authority on the history and development of the English language.

The online Oxford English Dictionary enables the full text of the Dictionary to be searched in a way impossible in the printed version. The Dictionary is being completely revised. Every one of the 250,000 entries is being updated, and many more will be added during the course of the revision program, which is expected to double the length of the text.

Advanced Search options enable you to:

  • search using Boolean operators, and across different fields, in a single search (e.g., how many words are illustrated by a citation from Jane Austen AND come from French OR German?)
  • perform case-sensitive searches (e.g., find all references to BASIC the computer programming language, and not the adjective “basic”)
  • search for accented and other special characters (e.g., non-Roman alphabets,such as Hebrew and Arabic, chemical and mathematical symbols, and Old English characters)
  • find all words derived from a specified language with a single search (e.g., a search for “Sanskrit” in the new Language Names field will also look for abbreviated forms such as ‘Skr.’, ‘Skt.’, and ‘Sk.’)
  • restrict a search to entries with a particular part of speech (e.g., everything from nouns and adjectives to conjunctions and interjections)
  • search the OED’s pronunciations to find all the words containing a particular sound.


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