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Friday, February 1, 2013

the history of Oxford ~ Oxford English Dictionary


It is so voluminous that according to the publishers, it would take a single person 120 years to "key in" text to convert it to machine readable form which consists a total of 59 million words of the OED second edition, 60 years to proof-read it, and 540 megabytes to store it electronically. For those of us with eternal love for the language and admiration of those who speak the language eloquently – these words sound honey – it is Oxford English Dictionary.  Full edition is most unlikely, but most of us would have a Concise Edition or at least a pocket edition of the OED.

Oxford is a city in central southern England. It is the county town of Oxfordshire, and forms a district within the county. The city is known worldwide as a university town and home of the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the country and the English-speaking world.  The University of Oxford (informally Oxford University or Oxford, derived from the Latin, Universitas Oxoniensis) is a university located in Oxford, England, United Kingdom. It is the oldest university in the English-speaking world, and the second-oldest surviving university in the world.  There are some claims that it dates back to 1096.

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED), published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language.  Its history states that work  began on the dictionary in 1857; but it was not until 1884 that it started to be published in unbound fascicles.   In 1895, the title The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) was first used unofficially on the covers of the series and in 1928 the full dictionary was republished in ten bound volumes. As of 24 March 2011, the editors had completed the third edition from M to Ryvita. With descriptions for approximately 600,000 words, the Oxford English Dictionary is the world's most comprehensive single-language print dictionary according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

The first electronic version of the dictionary was made available in 1988. The online version has been available since 2000, and as of August 2010 was receiving two million hits per month from paying subscribers. The chief executive of Oxford University Press, Nigel Portwood, feels it unlikely that the third edition will ever be printed.

Of some relevance is the fact is it was today ~ Feb 1, in 1884 that the Oxford dictionary made its debut.  On this day in 1884, the first portion, of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), considered the most comprehensive and accurate dictionary of the English language, was  published. After almost 13 decades, OED is the definitive authority on the meaning, pronunciation and history of over half a million words, past and present

Unlike most English dictionaries, which only list present-day common meanings, the OED provides a detailed chronological history for every word and phrase, citing quotations from a wide range of sources, including classic literature and cookbooks. The OED is famous for its lengthy cross-references and etymologies. The verb "set" merits the OED's longest entry, at approximately 60,000 words and detailing over 430 uses.

Truly amazing. !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
1st Feb 2013.

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