For students and teachers

The Oxford English Dictionary is the world’s most comprehensive dictionary of the English language. It covers words from across the English-speaking world, and traces the development of English from the earliest records to the present day.

It’s an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over 600,000 words, both present and past. It traces the usage of words through 3 million quotations from a wide range of international English language sources, from classic literature to film scripts and cookery books.

Quarterly updates revise existing entries and add new words. And each month we add to the OED Online ‘Aspects of English’—our growing series of features offering routes into the dictionary—as well as topical takes on words (current and historical) via the OED homepage. Altogether it’s a wonderful resource for students and teachers of English language—past, present, and worldwide—as well as English literature, history, law, and many other subjects.

About the OED

The OED today: in Oxford and New York, 70 editors are updating the text of the dictionary for its Third Edition (2000-).

Latest updates to the OED: published every March, June, September, and December, updates revise existing entries and add new words.

The Historical Thesaurus of the OED: discover how the language of objects, ideas, and emotions has evolved from the Anglo-Saxon period to the modern day.

Using the OED Online: simple, visual guides to a dictionary entry; the Historical Thesaurus, Timelines, and searching the OED Online.

Using the OED for research and in the classroom

OED Birthday Words: search for your own personal birthday word and find out if you’re a foodie or if you enjoy your bling. As a fun introduction to advanced searching, with OED birthday words you can learn more about searching details of entries and narrowing by date of entry, and discover the wealth of contextual information that OED gives for words.

Aspects of English: regular features, written by OED editors and specialist authors, exploring words and language—their history, development, and use.

What’s new? Every month, words in the news, topical features, and interactive graphics.

Lesson plans: exercises for students by stage:

Quizzes: test your skills and expand your knowledge

Learning links: online language 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 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: read 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. Or listen to the lives of Sir James and Dr Minor as episodes from the Oxford DNB’s biography podcast.