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The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of more than 600,000 words—past and present—from across the English-speaking world. As a historical dictionary, the OED is very different from dictionaries of current English, in which the focus is on present-day meanings. You’ll still find present-day meanings in the OED, but you’ll also find the history of individual words, and of the language—traced through 3 million quotations, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books.
June 2022 update
Our latest update: more than 700 new words, senses, and sub-entries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including ankle-biter, sharenting, and Mozart and Liszt.
New words notes: Learn more about the words added to the OED this quarter in our new words notes by OED Senior Editor, Jonathan Dent.
Release notes: OED Executive Editor, Danica Salazar, also reveals the latest East African English words to be added to the OED, such as biting and daladala.
Release notes: OED Executive Editor, Kate Wild, discusses words related to veganism and vegetarianism in this blog post on updates to the Historical Thesaurus of the OED.
Release notes: Read about the revision of ignore and ignoramus in a blog post by OED Executive Editor, Eleanor Maier.
New resources for Twitter: videos about the OED and Historical Thesaurus
Download our MP4 video and help those using the OED to learn more about search functionality: https://public.oed.com/blog/searching-the-oed/
Download more videos to use on social media here.
New classroom materials
Visit the OED's teaching resources page to find two new lesson plans, a grammar poster on types of noun, and a downloadable 'birthday word' postcard.
New tools for academics
The OED Text Annotator beta
Researchers conducting qualitative and quantitative analysis of language in historical texts and literature are all too aware that problems often arise due to the differences in spelling and meaning of words through time. To solve this difficulty, the OED team are currently developing an experimental product—the OED Text Annotator beta.
The OED Text Annotator beta will allow you to input a digital version of your chosen text for analysis, before receiving a file in which each lexical token has been annotated with OED information, including etymology and date range.
We are now inviting members of the academic community to test the OED Text Annotator beta. If academics would like to get involved, we kindly ask that they join the OED Researchers Advisory Group. This is a group for academic researchers, and this is where the discussions and updates for these early stages of the Text Annotator project will take place.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE OED AND RESEARCH >
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Navigating an Entry
Explore the different views available for entries, and become familiar with the information being displayed in entry pages.
Learn how to access and use the quick search function, along with some quick shortcuts for word group searching.
Understand how to access a results page depending on a variety of topics such as subject, language of origin, date of entry, and more. This can be especially useful if you are searching for very specific.
Understanding the Sidebar
Learn more about the navigation aid and information displayed to the right of entry pages, and how the sidebar can provide in-depth information about the word you are examining.
Understanding the Results Page
Become familiar with the list of results displayed after a search, and how they are organised.
Explore another way to search OED entries, according to subject, usage, region, or origin.
Learn how to search the OED by a specific source, and how to quickly find a full list of quotations from an author.
Finding the Help Section
See where the help section is located on the public pages, and how to get in contact with the OED team for further assistance.
The Historical Thesaurus of the OED: categories
Learn about how the Historical Thesaurus is structured and how to start exploring this resource.
Using the Historical Thesaurus in research
Learn how the Historical Thesaurus can be used to find different words for a particular concept over time, and to explore patterns within semantic fields.
Tools and resources
How are words added to the OED?
Learn about how words are added to the OED and view our interactive graphic following the journey of a word.
Teachers and instructors can find resources here for utilizing the the OED within the classroom, including lessons plans, a grammar guide, and quizzes. Lesson plans are organized by grade/year and type of lesson.
The Historical Thesaurus of the OED
View the how-to guide: https://public.oed.com/wp-content/uploads/OED-Historical-Thesaurus-how-to.pdf
Find out more about the Historical Thesaurus: https://public.oed.com/blog/oed-historical-thesaurus-guide/
Listen to the recording of our recent webinar, OED Historical Thesaurus 15-minute virtual tour: https://public.oed.com/webinars-and-events/
Exploring OED quotations
A guide to exploring OED quotations, what the information shown in the quotations section means, and where to find more context for a particular quotation.
Guidance on labels and date ranges
When would a word be considered to be obsolete? When it is archaic and when is it considered to be rare?
Searching the OED
Discover some of the interesting things you can find in the OED by performing particular searches, and view the 'Searching the OED' how-to guide.
About the OED
Meet the editors
Learn about the work of the OED's various editorial team in a collection of videos, interviews and articles from the OED blog.
The revision of bear
Learn about the process a word goes through when it is revised, using the entry for bear, n.1 as an example.
Visit the blog post to learn why our entry for bear now covers anteaters, helicopters, doughnuts, and caterpillars: https://public.oed.com/blog/the-revision-of-bear-n-1-march-2020/?utm_campaign=oupac-campaign:https://tinyurl.com/mj3pfe43