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How to subscribe

The Oxford English Dictionary is now available by subscription to institutions and individuals. Please select your region below for subscription information: Customers outside North and South America Customers in North and South America You can also find out more about our Developing Countries Initiative Customers outside North and South America Institutions Annual subscriptions are available […]

How to use the OED

Browse the Help pages Keys and explanations What is the OED online? Abbreviations: a list of common abbreviations used in the OED Glossary: quick explanations of terms used in the OED Key to pronunciation Key to symbols and other conventions Guides Guide to Sources Guide to Timelines Guide to Categories Guide to the Historical Thesaurus […]


Does a dictionary need a glossary? It’s a moot point. Here are quick explanations of some terms used in OED Online, with links to more detailed discussion elsewhere. additions Additions sections are used to append new senses and lemmas to unrevised entries from the Second Edition of the OED. Additions sections may come from the […]

Guide to Categories

‘Categories’ enables you to explore and analyse the contents of the OED from many different perspectives: subject areas, regional English, types of usage, and the roots of English. Read more ». For a quick introduction to Categories, please view section 5 of the OED Online tour: Download: oed_tour_s5.pps (1.3 Mb) The tour is in PowerPoint […]

Guide to Sources

‘Sources’ gives extensive information about hundreds of sources of evidence used in the OED: novelists, poets, explorers, and scientists; newspapers, magazines, diaries, and letters. Find out who they were and what they contributed to the English language. Read more » For a quick introduction to Sources, please view section 7 of the OED Online tour: […]

Guide to the Historical Thesaurus

The Historical Thesaurus of the OED is a huge semantic index of the content of the dictionary. It provides new ways to discover, explore, and browse aspects of the English language and its history. The taxonomic organization of the Historical Thesaurus offers a unique new perspective on the material in the OED. OED Online integrates […]

Guide to Timelines

Timelines give you a graphical representation of any aspect of English over time: whether that’s the language as a whole; English relating to a particular subject area; English used by particular groups; or English derived from other languages and language families. Or you can create your own custom search, then view and refine the results […]

2010 relaunch explained

Before the 2010 relaunch, users saw unrevised entries in their static OED2 (1989) version and revised entries in their updated OED3 version. During the course of revision, a very large number of improvements were made (often manually) to entries not yet revised. These changes relate to a number of different areas: content, bibliography, display, tagging, […]

Key to pronunciation

To hear any pronunciation spoken aloud, click the blue play icon to the left of each transcription. The pronunciations given are those in use among educated urban speakers of standard English in Britain and the United States. While avoiding strongly regionally or socially marked forms, they are intended to include the most common variants for […]

Key to symbols and other conventions

Before a word or sense † = obsolete ‖ = not naturalized, alien (not used in New Edition entries) ¶ = catachrestic and erroneous uses (not used in New Edition entries) After a label ‘Obs.’ or ‘rare’ —0 indicates a word or sense for which no contextual examples from printed sources were available to the […]