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history of the OED

History of the OED

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…

Contributors

The number of people who contributed quotations to the First Edition of the OED runs into four figures. Many individuals contributed thousands of quotations, but sheer volume is not the…

Dictionary Editors

In this section we give brief biographies of the chief editors of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Dictionary Facts

First Edition Proposed size: 4 volumes, 6,400 pages (with provision for ‘a larger dictionary containing not fewer than 10 volumes, each containing not less than 1,600 pages’) Actual size: 10…

Dictionary Milestones

A chronology of events relevant to the history of the OED Dictionary milestones in reverse chronological order 1857  At the suggestion of Frederick J. Furnivall, the Philological Society of London…

First edition staff and contributors

1. Contributors A. This list contains the names of the principal readers before 1884; many of these began reading as early as 1858. The material which they contributed formed a…

First Edition of the OED

The First Edition of the Dictionary was originally issued in short parts or sections—now often called ‘fascicles’—as well as in volumes (and, later, half-volumes). The earliest fascicles were called ‘parts’,…