The Oxford English Dictionary
20 Volume Set
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From the publisher
Now in 20 volumes--the first comprehensive and up-to-date edition of the OED in one alphabetical sequence since the original edition of 1928.
The ultimate authority on the usage and meaning of English words and phrases, unparalleled in its accuracy and comprehensiveness, the Oxford English Dictionary is the supreme reference work for anyone who loves the language. Now, this greatest of all dictionaries appears in a new Second Edition--the first up-to-date coverage of words and meanings in one alphabetical sequence since the original dictionary was published in 1928.
The result of an enormously ambitious, on-going project to computerize the dictionary, the Second Edition integrates the original OED with the four volumes of the Supplement. Published between 1972 and 1986, this Supplement was produced to bring the Dictionary up to date, to extend its coverage to the language of the mid-20th century, and to reflect the ever-broadening international nature of the English. In addition to merging the original OED and the Supplement, which greatly enhances the convenience of using the Dictionary, the Second Edition includes some 5,000 new words and meanings--from perestroika to yuppification--which have entered the language quite recently. It has also been completely redesigned and reset to enhance its legibility: the typeface is more open, the headwords stand out more clearly, and the paper used is brighter, with greater opacity. Still another new feature is the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet to represent pronunciation, replacing the system devised by Sir James Murray, the first editor of the OED. By employing what is now the universally accepted standard guide to pronunciation, the Second Edition greatly extends the usefulness of this vital feature.
The key feature of the OED, of course, remains intact: its unique historical focus. Accompanying each definition is a chronologically arranged group of quotations that illustrate the evolution of meaning from the word's first recorded usage and show the contexts in which it can be used. The quotations are drawn from a huge variety of sources--literary, scholarly, technical, popular--and represent authors as disparate as Geoffrey Chaucer and Erica Jong, William Shakespeare and Raymond Chandler, Charles Darwin and John Le Carre. In all, nearly 2.5 million quotations--illustrating over a half-million words--can be found in the OED. Other features distinguishing the entries in the dictionary are the most authoritative definitions, detailed information on pronunciation, variant spellings throughout each word's history, extensive treatment of etymology, and details of area of usage and of any regional characteristics (including geographical origins).
A dictionary like no other in the world, the OED has been described as "among the wonders of the world of scholarship." With the publication of the Second Edition, that statement is today more apt than it ever has been.
"The OED has been to me a teacher, a companion, a source of endless discovery. I could not have become a writer without it. I welcome it in its new and comprehensive form, with its supplements absorbed into its main body, with its employment of a scientific phonetic notation that supersedes the brilliant but quirky system of Murray, with its astonishing panorama of what English is and what is has been. There will be no greater publishing event this century than the appearance of the new OED." Anthony Burgess
"No similar work, not even the great Lexicon of the brothers Grimm, is comparable to [the OED] in magnitude, accuracy, or completeness. It is one of the monuments to the patient persistence of scholarship and one of the most sterling illustrations of that strange piety which only scholars can understand." The Nation
"The greatest work in dictionary making ever undertaken." The New York Times
"No one who reads or writes seriously can be without the OED." The Washington Post
"In all probability, the greatest continuing work of scholarship that this century has produced." Newsweek
"It is a remarkable work of scholarship, and must rank high among the wonders of the world of learning." The Times Educational Supplement
"The most complete, most scholarly dictionary of the English language." The Christian Science Monitor
"[The OED] enables the individual to come as close as is humanly possible to possessing the English language in all its galactic breadth." Newsday
There will be no greater publishing event this century than the appearance of the new OED.
20 Volumes: Each volume is 12.38 inches high 9.5 inches long and approximately 2 inches wide. They are printed in the United States.
Copyright (c) Oxford University Press, Inc. 1999. All rights reserved