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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $1,336.50

21728 pp.
225 mm x 305 mm


Publication date:
March 1989

Imprint: OUP UK

The Oxford English Dictionary, 20 volume set

Second Edition

Edited by John Simpson and Edmund Weiner

The 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary is the accepted authority on the evolution of the English language over the last millennium. It traces the usage of words through 2.4 million quotations from a wide range of international English language sources. The OED has a unique historical focus. Accompanying each definition is a chronologically arranged group of quotations that trace the usage of words, and show the contexts in which they can be used. The quotations are drawn from a huge variety of sources worldwide - literary, scholarly, technical, and popular - and represent authors as disparate as Geoffrey Chaucer and Erica Jong, William Shakespeare, Charles Darwin and Isabella Beeton. Other features distinguishing the entries in the Dictionary are authoritative definitions; detailed information on pronunciation using the International Phonetic Alphabet; listings of variant spellings used throughout each word's history; extensive treatment of etymology; and details of area of usage and of any regional characteristics. Alongside the print edition is the Oxford English Dictionary Online (www.oed.com). Updated quarterly, this award winning online resource allows the Dictionary to evolve with the English language while the print edition remains as a historical record. Subscriptions are available to OED Online on an individual or institutional basis. Visit www.oup.com/online/oed/ for details.


  • "The ultimate authority on the English language as well as a history of English speech and thought from its infancy to the present day."

    --The Times
  • "The greatest work in dictionary making ever undertaken."

    --The New York Times
  • "The gigantic total picture of the English language...an epic achievement."

    --The Observer
  • "The greatest dictionary in any language."

    --Daily Telegraph

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John Simpson is Chief Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, and a Fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford. Edmund Weiner is Principal Philologist of the OED (2/e) and co-author of The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar and The Oxford Guide to English Usage.

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Special Features

  • The 20 volume Oxford English Dictionary is an unrivalled guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over half a million words
  • The Dictionary traces the evolution of over 600,000 words from across the English-speaking world through 2.4 million quotations
  • Historical in focus, each of the OED 's entries contain the word's earliest known use, as well as later examples which help plot the word's subsequent development in English
  • Its quotations are taken from a broad range of English language sources - from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books
  • Elegantly designed for maximum legibility and printed to the highest standards on the finest quality paper