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Online version of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). A guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over half a million words, both present and past. It traces the usage of words through 2.5 million quotations from a wide range of international English language sources, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books. It also offers the best in etymological analysis, listings of variant spellings, and shows pronunciation using the International Phonetic Alphabet. 

The OED is currently being revised for a 3rd edition. Occasionally, new material is presented for an entry that has not yet been fully revised. This can be in the form of a new meaning of an existing word, a new compound or phrase involving an existing word, and so on. In such cases, the new material appears appended to the foot of the entry, introduced by the sentence ‘Draft additions’. Each separate item in the partial entry is marked with the symbol *.

Search tips:

  • A Find Word Search is a quick search which finds main dictionary entries, such as alphabet, break, xylophone. It also finds subordinate entries such as the phrase in alphabet, or compounds such as alphabet book. The search form is located at the top-right of the browser window.

  • A Full Text search is a search of the entire Dictionary text. It finds your term wherever it occurs in the Dictionary. This could be in the form of an entry name, part of another word's definition, in a quotation, etc. A Full Text search also allows you to confine your search to a particular area of text (e.g., definition or quotation text) and to search for words that occur near one another (e.g., Dickens before Drood).  The full text search form is found by clicking the simple search button or the advanced search button.

  • Each result in a Full Text search is numbered and listed on a single line. On the left is the name of the entry (e.g., camaca), and on the right is a snapshot of the part of the entry where the first match occurs, with the match underlined.

    The date of the earliest quotation in the entry appears to the left of the entry name, or, if a quotation search has been done, the date of the quotation found is displayed to the right of the snapshot. There is a separate line in the list for each separate section (definition, quotations, etymology) in any entry which contains a match. The results are listed by default in alphabetical order of the entries in which they occur.

Where is it :

Go to the UNLV Libraries' home page. Under Find, select Articles, then under Article databases by name, click on the letter O and select Oxford English Dictionary.

Quick link:

Click here for the Oxford English Dictionary homepage

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