See Review: Oxford English Dictionary

 Gale Group, Péter's Reference Shelf, May, 2000

 Click here to read the review 



BOOKS: The OED is to go online and get a thorough revision and continuous update
Anthony Thorncroft 
Financial Times London Edition, p 05
February 26, 2000
Oxford University Press will as of 3/14/00 sell its Oxford English Dictionary via the Internet only, on a subscription basis. It has taken 18 yrs and UKPd34 mil to convert the OED, which has approximately 650,000 entries, into an Internet version. The goal is to have a revised, electronic OED with each word re-interpreted and re-evaluated in place by 2010. Subscribers will initially receive only 1,000 completely updated words. In the first year 10,000 new definitions will be added, and by 2005 the figure will reach 40,000/yr.
No, Sir. There will be 1,000 words each quarter (new or revised). That is 4,000 per year, 20,000 in 5 years (up to 2005). Is that a heavy math for Financial Times?
Joshua Harris Prager; Credits, Wall Street Journal
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, FINAL AM ED, P 1
Monday, October 11, 1999
"The need for leather books is immeasurable," says Donna Vining, an interior designer in Houston who is enthusiastic about the prospect of the expanded dictionary: "I could split 40 books on four shelves"
Don't forget the Encyclopaedia Britannica volumes that could fill three additional shelves. If ugly gaps remain on the shelves of your clients a leather-bound War and Peace could come handy. Call in Martha Stewart if in doubt.
Atlanta Constitution (AC) - Wednesday, March 15, 2000
By: Michael Skube; Staff
Edition: Home  Section: Features  Page: F1
The  blue-bound 20-volume sets that came with a hand-held magnifying  glass  (because  of  the  tiny  type) won't become a thing of the past. But fewer  will be printed.
It was the 1-volume set that came with the magnifying glass, Michael. Read your source again with one.
Independent (IN) - Tuesday, March 14, 2000
By: Charles Arthur Technology Editor
For  Web  users,  the  OED  site will offer a searchable interface to the 300,000  words  and  2.5  million quotations in the present versions of the dictionary,  which  build  on  the  20-volume  1989 second edition. When the  third edition is ready in 2010 - in whatever form - there are expected to  be  1.3  million words, because 1,000 new entries are added every three months from today.
So 4,000 words a year (so far so good). That is 40,000 in 10 years. If there are 300,000 words now that would be 340,000 not 1.3 million. There are about 640,000 terms defined in OED Online now using nearly 60 million words all of them searchable through an interface. What if it had not been written by the technology editor of the Independent?
e files 
Vancouver Province, FINAL ED, P A31 / Front
March 15, 2000
Users get access to the full 20-volume second edition of the OED, as well as the three editions published from 1993 to 1997, which include more than 750,000 terms.
You mean the three Additions volumes to  the Second Edition, I presume,  that include 9,000 terms, not 750,000. 
ENDPAPERS; Two online landmarks for readers Sampling e-books free, but OED costs plenty 
Henry Kisor
Chicago Sun-Times, 5XS ED, P 14 Nc
Sunday, March 19, 2000
As for the Oxford English Dictionary going online (at, this is major news for philologists and crossword addicts as well as everyone with an abiding curiosity about words. All the OED's 20 volumes and 3 supplements containing 60 million words - 750,000 English terms and 24 million quotations illustrating them - are now available to anyone with a computer and modem.
I've spent a couple of weeks with a press passwordnoodling raptly about the site's innards, and I can say that it's both as useful and as engrossing as Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. It's a boon for word workers, too; new coinages will appear quickly, instead of waiting for decades. As well as the older dictionary, there is a "new version" containing 10,000 new and revised words.
The Supplements supplemented the First Edition, the Second Edition had Additions. 
24 million quotations would be lovely, but there are "only" about 2.5 million of them. Couldn't you noodle a little more or less raptly?
Oxford dictionary spells new chapter in computer literacy 
Scotsman, 1 ED, P 3
Tuesday, March 14, 2000
The original printed version of the dictionary was compiled by a Scot, Sir James Murray, who made it the great work of his life, beginning the task in 1879 and finishing half a century later, with the completed 1928 edition.
Sir James, a workaholic passed away in 1915. Perhaps he is rolling in his grave now. But working from the grave? Not even a scotophile Scotophile can claim that. Look at my review for the scoto- and Scoto- prefixes if in doubt.
Staid Know-It-All Goes Hip and Online; O.E.D. Enters the Dot-Com World 
New York Times, Late Edition - Final ED, COL 02, P 1
Monday April 10 2000
    OXFORD, England - In its familiar version, the Oxford English Dictionary stretches out over 20 volumes, weighs in at 138 pounds and so thoroughly plumbs the history of 640,000 words and phrases that there would seem to be nothing left to plumb. Shakespeare, its most quoted author, is cited 33,000 times. There are 20 pages devoted to the verb "to set."  That's nothing.
    Earlier last month the mild-mannered dictionary ducked into a phone booth, put on some high-tech tights and a cape, and emerged as the Superman of reference works. Its new electronic version doesn't fit on any shelf, but it is the first phase of a $55 million, 10-year overhaul that will add more than 600,000 new words -- and revise the 19th-century entries for many old ones.
No, Madam, there will be no 600,000 new words added. But there is good news! All the entries will be revised not only the ones from the 19th century. And they will be enhanced with new meanings, new quotations, new definitions using about 60 million words.


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