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The Oxford English Dictionary (Hardback)

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ISBN 10: 0198611862 / ISBN 13: 9780198611868
Published by Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 1989
New Condition: New Hardcover
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About this Item

Language: English. Brand new Book. The 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary is the accepted authority on the evolution of the English language over the last millennium. It traces the usage of words through 2.4 million quotations from a wide range of international English language sources. The OED has a unique historical focus. Accompanying each definition is a chronologically arranged group of quotations that trace the usage of words, and show the contexts in which they can be used. The quotations are drawn from a huge variety of sources worldwide - literary, scholarly, technical, and popular - and represent authors as disparate as Geoffrey Chaucer and Erica Jong, William Shakespeare, Charles Darwin and Isabella Beeton. Other features distinguishing the entries in the Dictionary are authoritative definitions; detailed information on pronunciation using the International Phonetic Alphabet; listings of variant spellings used throughout each word's history; extensive treatment of etymology; and details of area of usage and of any regional characteristics. Alongside the print edition is the Oxford English Dictionary Online ( quarterly, this award-winning online resource allows the Dictionary to evolve with the English language while the print edition remains as a historical record. Subscriptions are available to OED online on an individual or institutional basis. Visit for details. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780198611868

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Oxford English Dictionary (Hardback)

Publisher: Oxford University Press, United Kingdom

Publication Date: 1989

Binding: Hardback

Book Condition:New

Edition: 2nd Revised edition.

About this title


This is a complete set previously owned by a library, with the library's reference stickers still on the lower part of the spine. The binding is tight, and there is a clear protective jacket on the boards. Pages are crisp and clean. This set includes the full 20 volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary- Second Edition, in addition to three volumes of Oxford English Dictionary Additions Series- An A-Z presentation of new work-in-progress supplementing the Oxford English Dictionary.


The Oxford English Dictionary has long been considered the ultimate reference work in English lexicography. Compiled by the legendary editor James Murray and a staff of brilliant philologists and lexicographers (not to mention one homicidal maniac), the OED began as a a supplement to existing dictionaries, so that, as one lexicographer put it, "every word should be made to tell its own story." Enthusiastic readers sent Murray definitions and examples on identical slips of paper in response to a letter of appeal in 1879. By the time the last volume was published in 1928, the dictionary had swelled from 4 to 10 volumes containing over 400,000 entries. In the years since, the staff of the OED has continued to keep pace with our ever-evolving language, and today the dictionary weighs in at a whopping 20 volumes. The great joy of this dictionary lies in its extensive cross-references and word etymologies, which can run a full page or more. These features not only make the OED the most comprehensive and authoritative dictionary of the English language, but a delight to browse.

What writers like most about the Oxford English Dictionary

"I’m tempted to say that I love the OED because it contains every word in Middlemarch and To the Lighthouse, minus the unnecessary ones. I suspect, however, that that’s probably a familiar joke in dictionary circles."--Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours
"The Oxford English Dictionary lets me follow the roots of words into the loamy depths of language. It lets me feel the abiding, generative life in it, the mysteries of its persistence and renewal."--Marilynne Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Home
"The OED is one of my favorite ways of avoiding writing, which under other circumstances can be tortuous. But not with the OED. To begin, I look up a word. Then I get interested in its derivation, which suggests another word, another derivation, another word--Wow!"--Jeanne Marie Laskas, author of The Exact Same Moon

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