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Online Reference

Oxford English Dictionary

Oxford English Dictionary

The Oxford English Dictionary Online is available from any public library in Devon and to registered library members at home.

Library computer users go to www.oed.com

Home computer users please follow the link and log in http://www.devon.gov.uk/library/catalogue/cgi-bin/vps2.5_resource_auth.sh

If you are using a computer at home, you must follow the link from this page rather than typing the website address in your browser. You will need to enter your library card number and your PIN. If you don't know your PIN, please contact your library

Content

The Oxford English Dictionary is the most authoritative and comprehensive dictionary of English in the world:

  • Access to the text of the 20-volume Second Edition and the Additions series

  • Quarterly updates of at least 2,500 new and revised words

  • Trace the evolution of more than 600,000 words over the last 1,500 years through 2.5 million quotations from a wide range of sources – from classic literature and periodicals to film scripts and pop songs

  • Help for crossword solvers - search for words with 'wildcards' (missing letters can be denoted with a ?), or search for words on the basis of their definitions. Find out about wildcard searches at http://www.oed.com/help/search/wildcard.html

There are extensive search options to find the answers to questions such as :

  • What was the original meaning of the adjective NICE?  (foolish!)

  • When was the first recorded use of MOBILE PHONE?  (1945)

  • Which band, according to the OED, invented COOL BRITANNIA, and when? (Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, 1967)

  • How many English words have a Hindi origin? (469 as at February 2006)

  • "Beware the jubjub bird" is a quotation from which book? (Through the Looking Glass)

Further information

Download a quick reference guide

Take an online tour of the Dictionary

Sign up to receive the word of the day by email

Printing and downloading

Single copies of articles may be printed or downloaded for personal use and private study. You can also email copies of articles to family and friends.