Contribute to the OED

Before you start, make sure that the quotation evidence is useful to OED editors

Consider the following points:

New Words

Oxford leads the field in recording the entry of today’s new words into the language. We use printed evidence of new words from magazines, newspapers, books, song lyrics, practical manuals – indeed from any published source. Slang and dialect words are also collected.

A ‘new word from the past’ may sound like a contradiction, but Dictionary editors are particularly keen to receive information about words from earlier centuries that have so far escaped inclusion: for example, words from books or manuals from previous centuries on any profession, trade, craft, or hobby with a specialized vocabulary, from building techniques to pigeon-fancying.

New Senses, Usage, Spelling, or Pronunciation

New senses or usages of an existing word, an unusual spelling, or evidence of a different pronunciation are all welcomed.

New Etymological and Dating Evidence

One of the principal tasks in revising the OED is describing the history of each word. New information on how words came into the English language from scholars working in this area is welcomed. Also, every entry in the Dictionary includes supporting quotations which build up a picture of a word’s use, ranging from the earliest known example to one illustrating recent usage, and including intermediate quotations throughout the centuries. Editors are looking in particular for earlier (antedating) evidence; and, in some cases, more recent (postdating) evidence of words than is currently quoted; plus intermediate (interdating) evidence where large gaps in dating evidence exist.

Check that the material is new to the Dictionary

You can consult the relevant entry in the online version of the OED from most public libraries in the UK, and from many institutions worldwide. First check entries for the same part of speech: e.g. walk, n.1 and walk, n.2 or love, v.1 and love, v.2, to make sure that the meaning is definitely not covered

What happens to the submitted evidence?

Submissions from readers of the OED are generated by a web-based form (see below). When you press the submit button a message appears on-screen confirming that the data has been captured successfully, which means that your evidence has reached the OED. Providing the submission does not duplicate evidence already held in-house, it is filed electronically. The data is therefore available to Dictionary editors when they come to draft or revise the relevant entry.

Readers can check whether a quotation has been included by consulting the online edition of the OED, provided they, their public library, or their institution, subscribe to the service. The revision is a huge task, and in order to meet tough deadlines Oxford regrets that it cannot enter into correspondence about individual submissions.

What supporting information you need to provide on the submission form:

Part of speech e.g.verb, noun, adjective, etc.


(NB the OED does not need modern evidence for establishing usages at present only illustrated (in the unrevised sections of the dictionary) into the nineteenth century)

Choose one of the following:
e.g. the existing information in the OEDshows written usage starting in 1650, but the new evidence submitted provides evidence from 1615
e.g. the OED timeline suggests that the sense was obsolete by the start of the 18th century, but this new quotation is from 1790
e.g. the timeline suggests the sense was not in use during the century that the quotation comes from
Sense missing – before selecting this option, check in other entries for the same part of speech
– anything relating to the origin of the word
– give a brief explanation
OED sense number as defined in the OED online entry; e.g. I, 7, g (This is not applicable when the evidence relates to a new word or missing sense.)
Date of publication Monographs: the year
Newspapers and periodicals
: year and day/month/volume/issue number as relevant
Location of quotation within the source Books: the volume, chapter, and page number
Periodicals: the date of issue
: the URL


Click on this link to open the Submission Form in a new window.