For students and teachers

Resources for students and teachers

If your school or library subscribes to the OED, learn about remote access here. If your school or library do not subscribe, many of the resources below allow free access to the relevant OED entries.

Jump to:

  • Key skills
  • History of the English language
  • How do dictionaries work?
  • What do dictionary editors do?
  • English around the world
  • Notes from children’s authors
  • Language fun
  • Using the OED in schools, colleges, and universities
  • External resources

  • Key skills

    Do you know your past participles from your personal pronouns? Brush up on your grammar.

    Can you spell your favourite word using IPA? Learn about the International Phonetic Alphabet.

    How do dictionaries work?

    Danica Salazar

    What do dictionary editors do?

    Caribbean beach aerial view

    English around the world

    Learn about English as it is spoken around the world in our blog post by Danica Salazar (who you met in our video above), and explore some of the varieties of English represented in the OED below:

    Notes from children’s authors

    • Illustrator Nick Sharratt shares his favourite word here and an illustration to go with it in this interview
    • Author Frances Hardinge shares her five favourite words
    • In this interview, Geraldine McCaughrean tells us about favourite words, the naming of heroines, tackling similes and metaphors, and more
    • Did you know that J. R. R. Tolkien once worked as an OED editor? Find out more
    • Winnie the Pooh may have been bothered by long words, but plenty of words from A. A. Milne’s books have made their way into the OED. Learn more in this blog post
    • Our children’s dictionary team have some wonderful resources on their Roald Dahl dictionary available

    Language fun

    • What is your birthday word? Find out which words originated during your birth year.
    • We’d like to hear about the unique expressions used by children and young people. Can you submit a word to the OED?
    • Can you create a book spine poem just like writer and editor Stan Carey?
    • What is your favourite food word? Learn about the lexical history of your favourite food, and have a go at baking it just like food writer Kate Young here.

    Using the OED in schools, colleges, and universities

    Please note that many of the resources below require full access to the OED. If your school does not subscribe to the OED, many public libraries do, and you may be able to log in using your library card number. Learn more about remote access here.

    For all ages

    For Key Stage 3 (US grades 6-8)

    For GCSE and A-Level (US grades 9-12)

    OED supporting academic researchers

    For university students

    External resources

    Teachit: resources using the OED

    Teachit English is a resource website for teachers, with over 23,465 pages of classroom worksheets, PowerPoint presentations and activities, written by and edited by professional secondary English teachers. Free members to the site can access thousands of PDFs, while subscribers can adapt the resources and download 25 teaching packs. Teachit English is part of AQA Education.

    Key Stage 5 (Free PDF)

    Tes: resources using the OED 

    Tes is a global online community of educators, offering blog posts, industry news, and a variety of free and paid-for teaching resources.

    Free resources from Tes (created by Oxford University Press):

    Video & audio resources

    Balderdash & Piffle: broadcast in 2007, this major BBC series looked at words and their stories, and appealed to viewers to help update the OED.

    The Guardian- Inside the OED: this podcast (with text version) explains the processes involved with adding new words to the OED, and the impact modern technology has on the dictionary today.

    The OED story

    A long and rich history: as the last word on words for over a century, the OED‘s is a fascinating story of language and change.

    Messrs Murray and Minor: learn the stories of the OED‘s first editor, Sir James Murray (1837–1915), and one of its most famous and unusual contributors, Dr William Minor (1834–1920), from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

    If you would like to share your experiences of using the OED in lessons, you can do this by emailing