Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Oxford English Dictionary Online

I discovered an interesting and useful piece of information today. The Oxford English Dictionary, with its wonderful wealth of information about our language, is available on line through many libraries, one of which is the Denver Public Library. This link will take you to the entry point. All you need from there is a library card. Fantastic stuff!
The OED site home page is here.

Following is a quote from the site concerning the genesis of this historic work:

"The Oxford English Dictionary has been the last word on words for over a century. But, as with a respected professor or admired parent, we count on its wisdom and authority without thinking much about how it was acquired. What is the history of the Oxford English Dictionary? Exploring its origins and development will give new insight into this extraordinary, living document.

How it began

When the members of the Philological Society of London decided, in 1857, that existing English language dictionaries were incomplete and deficient, and called for a complete re-examination of the language from Anglo-Saxon times onward, they knew they were embarking on an ambitious project. However, even they didn't realize the full extent of the work they initiated, or how long it would take to achieve the final result.

The project proceeded slowly after the Society's first grand statement of purpose. Eventually, in 1879, the Society made an agreement with the Oxford University Press and James A. H. Murray to begin work on a New English Dictionary (as the Oxford English Dictionary was then known)."

Read more here.

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