Unrivalled breadth and depth
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Unrivalled breadth and depth. The biggest dictionary of any language in the world in print, on CD-Rom and online! Over 600,000 definitions Over 2.5 million quotation examples to show words in context Explores the evolution of English over the last 1500 years

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Unrivalled breadth and depth

Unrivalled breadth and depth

  • The biggest dictionary of any language in the world in print, on CD-Rom and online!

  • Over 600,000 definitions

  • Over 2.5 million quotation examples to show words in context

  • Explores the evolution of English over the last 1500 years

  • Covers words and phrases from across the English-speaking world


An enormous project

An enormous project

  • The updating of the OED is the world’s largest humanities research project

    • Editorial work alone costs OUP £3 million per year!

    • 80 in-house lexicographers, researchers and systems engineers working on the project

    • 200 specialist advisers

    • Numerous external contributors

  • At least 6000 new and revised definitions published online each year


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Welcome to the Oxford English Dictionary homepage!


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Click on Customer Service tab to find out how

Did you know that you can load the

“Search OED” icon to your toolbar?

Then you can highlight a word on any web

site and OED will open up at the definition!


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Simply click here


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Right-click on this link and

follow the instructions below


Unrivalled breadth and depth

…and click on the link!

Highlight a word on any website…


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Here’s your definition!


Any problems

Any problems?

  • Make sure that your toolbar is unlocked – hold mouse over toolbar and right-click, then untick the ‘Lock toolbars’ option

  • Add the website to your trusted sites: select Tools, Internet Options, Security. Then click on ‘Sites’ and add http://www.oed.com. You may also need to untick the ‘require https in this zone’ box. Click OK twice to finalize.

    Now try again!


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Now let’s start

exploring the dictionary!


Unrivalled breadth and depth

nice

Type here to do a Quick Search for a word

and press return or click on


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Click on a result to go

to the definition – the abbreviations

referring to different part of speech

help you to select the most relevant entry


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Take a look at adjacent entries in the dictionary.

This is your entry for nice.


Unrivalled breadth and depth

By selecting the List by Date tab you can view

entries for other words appearing in English

at the same time as nice.


Unrivalled breadth and depth

You can also choose to view a map guiding

you through the different senses of nice.


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Click on a link on the left to view a later definition.


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Within the entry for each word, the definitions are listed

in chronological order with the oldest appearing first.

Scroll through the entry to see how the

meaning of nice has changed over time.


Unrivalled breadth and depth

You can customize your view of the dictionary

by selecting the relevant tabs at the top.


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Each different meaning is also

illustrated by useful quotations…


Unrivalled breadth and depth

…as well as a date chart, showing you

when each meaning of nice was in use.


Unrivalled breadth and depth

This gives the version and publication date of the entry.

If you’re interested in the development of the OED itself,

take a look at the entry for nice in an earlier edition.

Scroll down to view the

current meaning of nice.


Quick search

Quick Search

You can also use wildcards in Quick Search:

* represents any number of missing words

(or none)

? represents one missing letter


Unrivalled breadth and depth

You can change the number

of results displayed per page.

A search for *phobia brings up

115 words ending with phobia


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Unsure about spelling? A search

for r*yt*m will find the correct one!


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Select Simple Search or Advanced Search

from the tab at the bottom


Simple search

Simple Search

  • Simple Search allows you to select the area of your search term from a variety of options:

    • Full text, definitions, etymologies, language names

    • Quotations, Quotation date / author / work

    • First cited date / author / work

  • It also allows you to do Proximity Searches


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Type in a search term, select an area from

the drop-down list and click on


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Read though all 279 English

words that owe a debt to Urdu!


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Or view all 3,706 quotations from

Shakespeare used to illustrate meanings!


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Proximity searching

Click in More options to

search for one word or

phrase in association with another


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Know the meaning but not the word?

This type of search helps you find

the definition of the fear of spiders.


Advanced search

Advanced Search

  • Use Boolean operators such as AND, OR, NEAR

  • Combine a search on three words, and specify the order in which they appear

  • Filter for specific parts of speech

  • Restrict your search to the results of previous searches

  • Search a specific edition of the OED

  • Search pronunciations and quotations


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Let’s search for any words related to fashion, originating

from French, that entered English after 1750.


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Let’s try a search for PRONUNCIATION,

which will allow you to search for rhymes!

First, you need to look up the phonetic symbol

for the rhyme you need. Go to HELP for this.


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Select Advanced Searching


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Go to Searching pronunciations


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Click on this link


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Select the edition of your choice


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Here you find a list of the phonetic symbols

for all the sounds used in English, with

the corresponding keyboard equivalent.

Let’s search for words rhyming with

/eIt/, like fate, or great.


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Scroll down to find the symbol

at the bottom of the list.


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Now type the equivalent keyboard sign

into the search box and select pronunciation.

This search will find any words ending with this sound.


Unrivalled breadth and depth

There are 2,289 results!


Unrivalled breadth and depth

This search will only find

monosyllabic nouns

rhyming with fate.


Unrivalled breadth and depth

65 results!

This link always

takes you back

to the homepage

View the result by entry name,

entry date or quotation date.


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Through the OED Help, you can also

find a list of all the language names!


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Select Key to symbols and other conventions


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Scroll down to the bottom of the page


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Select Collation of language names


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Choose any letter to view

language names starting

with this letter


Unrivalled breadth and depth

The OED help has a lot

more information on searching!


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Now you’re

nearly fluent

in Nahuatl !


Unrivalled breadth and depth

Don’t forget to take a look at the

Learning Resources, which contain

quizzes and exercises for schools!


Seeing something different on your screen

Seeing something different on your screen?

Please note that if you try the searches shown

here for yourself, you might find different results due to the constant updating of the OED.


Widely acclaimed

Widely acclaimed

  • “The ultimate authority on the English language as well as a history of English speech and thought from its infancy to the present day” The Times

  • “The greatest continuing work of scholarship that this century has produced” Newsweek

  • “An essential acquisition for all libraries” Library Journal


Further information

Further information

  • Full details about the OED and OED Online are available at www.oed.com

  • A detailed tour is available at www.oed.com/public/tour

  • If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected]


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