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Oxford First Dictionary REPACK

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is the principal historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford University Press (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a comprehensive resource to scholars and academic researchers, as well as describing usage in its many variations throughout the world.[2]

Oxford First Dictionary

Work began on the dictionary in 1857, but it was only in 1884 that it began to be published in unbound fascicles as work continued on the project, under the name of A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles; Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by The Philological Society. In 1895, the title The Oxford English Dictionary was first used unofficially on the covers of the series, and in 1928 the full dictionary was republished in 10 bound volumes. In 1933, the title The Oxford English Dictionary fully replaced the former name in all occurrences in its reprinting as 12 volumes with a one-volume supplement. More supplements came over the years until 1989, when the second edition was published, comprising 21,728 pages in 20 volumes.[1] Since 2000, compilation of a third edition of the dictionary has been underway, approximately half of which was complete by 2018.[1]

The first electronic version of the dictionary was made available in 1988. The online version has been available since 2000, and by April 2014 was receiving over two million visits per month. The third edition of the dictionary is expected to be available exclusively in electronic form; the Chief Executive of Oxford University Press has stated that it is unlikely that it will ever be printed.[1][3][4]

As a historical dictionary, the Oxford English Dictionary features entries in which the earliest ascertainable recorded sense of a word, whether current or obsolete, is presented first, and each additional sense is presented in historical order according to the date of its earliest ascertainable recorded use.[5] Following each definition are several brief illustrating quotations presented in chronological order from the earliest ascertainable use of the word in that sense to the last ascertainable use for an obsolete sense, to indicate both its life span and the time since its desuetude, or to a relatively recent use for current ones.

According to the publishers, it would take a single person 120 years to "key in" the 59 million words of the OED second edition, 60 years to proofread them, and 540 megabytes to store them electronically.[7] As of 30 November 2005, the Oxford English Dictionary contained approximately 301,100 main entries. Supplementing the entry headwords, there are 157,000 bold-type combinations and derivatives;[8] 169,000 italicized-bold phrases and combinations;[9] 616,500 word-forms in total, including 137,000 pronunciations; 249,300 etymologies; 577,000 cross-references; and 2,412,400 usage quotations. The dictionary's latest, complete print edition (second edition, 1989) was printed in 20 volumes, comprising 291,500 entries in 21,730 pages. The longest entry in the OED2 was for the verb set, which required 60,000 words to describe some 580 senses (430 for the bare verb, the rest in phrasal verbs and idioms). As entries began to be revised for the OED3 in sequence starting from M, the record was progressively broken by the verbs make in 2000, then put in 2007, then run in 2011 with 645 senses.[10][11][12]

Despite its considerable size, the OED is neither the world's largest nor the earliest exhaustive dictionary of a language. Another earlier large dictionary is the Grimm brothers' dictionary of the German language, begun in 1838 and completed in 1961. The first edition of the Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca is the first great dictionary devoted to a modern European language (Italian) and was published in 1612; the first edition of Dictionnaire de l'Académie française dates from 1694. The official dictionary of Spanish is the Diccionario de la lengua española (produced, edited, and published by the Real Academia Española), and its first edition was published in 1780. The Kangxi Dictionary of Chinese was published in 1716.[13] The largest dictionary by number of pages is believed to be the Dutch Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal.[14][15]

Additional material for a given letter range continued to be gathered after the corresponding fascicle was printed, with a view towards inclusion in a supplement or revised edition. A one-volume supplement of such material was published in 1933, with entries weighted towards the start of the alphabet where the fascicles were decades old.[19] The supplement included at least one word (bondmaid) accidentally omitted when its slips were misplaced;[27] many words and senses newly coined (famously appendicitis, coined in 1886 and missing from the 1885 fascicle, which came to prominence when Edward VII's 1902 appendicitis postponed his coronation[28]); and some previously excluded as too obscure (notoriously radium, omitted in 1903, months before its discoverers Pierre and Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize in Physics.[29]). Also in 1933 the original fascicles of the entire dictionary were re-issued, bound into 12 volumes, under the title "The Oxford English Dictionary".[30] This edition of 13 volumes including the supplement was subsequently reprinted in 1961 and 1970.

In 1933, Oxford had finally put the dictionary to rest; all work ended, and the quotation slips went into storage. However, the English language continued to change and, by the time 20 years had passed, the dictionary was outdated.[31]

There were three possible ways to update it. The cheapest would have been to leave the existing work alone and simply compile a new supplement of perhaps one or two volumes, but then anyone looking for a word or sense and unsure of its age would have to look in three different places. The most convenient choice for the user would have been for the entire dictionary to be re-edited and retypeset, with each change included in its proper alphabetical place; but this would have been the most expensive option, with perhaps 15 volumes required to be produced. The OUP chose a middle approach: combining the new material with the existing supplement to form a larger replacement supplement.

Robert Burchfield was hired in 1957 to edit the second supplement;[32] Charles Talbut Onions turned 84 that year but was still able to make some contributions as well. The work on the supplement was expected to take about seven years.[31] It actually took 29 years, by which time the new supplement (OEDS) had grown to four volumes, starting with A, H, O, and Sea. They were published in 1972, 1976, 1982, and 1986 respectively, bringing the complete dictionary to 16 volumes, or 17 counting the first supplement.

Burchfield emphasized the inclusion of modern-day language and, through the supplement, the dictionary was expanded to include a wealth of new words from the burgeoning fields of science and technology, as well as popular culture and colloquial speech. Burchfield said that he broadened the scope to include developments of the language in English-speaking regions beyond the United Kingdom, including North America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, and the Caribbean. Burchfield also removed, for unknown reasons, many entries that had been added to the 1933 supplement.[33] In 2012, an analysis by lexicographer Sarah Ogilvie revealed that many of these entries were in fact foreign loanwords, despite Burchfield's claim that he included more such words. The proportion was estimated from a sample calculation to amount to 17% of the foreign loan words and words from regional forms of English. Some of these had only a single recorded usage, but many had multiple recorded citations, and it ran against what was thought to be the established OED editorial practice and a perception that he had opened up the dictionary to "World English".[34][35][36]

Thus began the New Oxford English Dictionary (NOED) project. In the United States, more than 120 typists of the International Computaprint Corporation (now Reed Tech) started keying in over 350,000,000 characters, their work checked by 55 proof-readers in England.[37] Retyping the text alone was not sufficient; all the information represented by the complex typography of the original dictionary had to be retained, which was done by marking up the content in SGML.[37] A specialized search engine and display software were also needed to access it. Under a 1985 agreement, some of this software work was done at the University of Waterloo, Canada, at the Centre for the New Oxford English Dictionary, led by Frank Tompa and Gaston Gonnet; this search technology went on to become the basis for the Open Text Corporation.[38] Computer hardware, database and other software, development managers, and programmers for the project were donated by the British subsidiary of IBM; the colour syntax-directed editor for the project, LEXX,[39] was written by Mike Cowlishaw of IBM.[40] The University of Waterloo, in Canada, volunteered to design the database. A. Walton Litz, an English professor at Princeton University who served on the Oxford University Press advisory council, was quoted in Time as saying "I've never been associated with a project, I've never even heard of a project, that was so incredibly complicated and that met every deadline."[41]

By 1989, the NOED project had achieved its primary goals, and the editors, working online, had successfully combined the original text, Burchfield's supplement, and a small amount of newer material, into a single unified dictionary. The word "new" was again dropped from the name, and the second edition of the OED, or the OED2, was published. The first edition retronymically became the OED1. 041b061a72


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