Words, words, words! Did you know that on February 1st, 1884 the first portion or fascicle of the monumental Oxford English Dictionary was published? Complete with inspiring quotations, multiple cross-references, and fascinating etymologies, the OED was edited by Scottish lexicographer James Murray (1837-1918) and made its debut today in history -- going on to surpass its proposed four volumes and taking eventually seventy years to complete from the date of its approval. Conceived by members of London's Philological Society, this scholarly work embodies the most authoritative approach to the history of the English language -- offering a detailed chronology of every word and phrase in the English vocabulary from 1150 A.D.
As language evolves and develops, so does the need to update and maintain our living history of vocabulary. After the final portion of the first edition of the OED was published in 1928 (bringing it to ten volumes), the editors and contributors started all over again! A supplement was published in 1933, followed by another four volumes between 1972-1986. The Second Edition was published in 1989, with supplementary volumes. Three volumes of Additions were published in 1993 and 1997. A Third Edition is currently in progress, having moved online with hundreds of new and revised words published quarterly.
The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.
- Leonard, L. M. (1928, Aug 19). Notes for Bibliophiles: The Oxford English Dictionary. New York Herald Tribune (1926-1962)
- Ross, A. S. C. (1962, Mar 09). Words Without End. The Guardian (1959-2003)
- Harrison, J.G. (1972, Dec 06). Up-To-Date English: All the Words From A-G. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File)
- Kronhulz, J. 1980, Apr 03). Dictionary Will Miss Publishing Deadline By About 21 Years: New Words Keep Overtaking the Oxford Supplement. Wall Street Journal (1923 - Current File)
- Kenney, M. (1985, May 12). The First and Last Word On Proper English: It Is, Says Oxford English Dictionary Editor, 'Like a Fleet Of Juggernaut Trucks That Goes On Regardless'. Boston Globe (1960-1989)
- World-Class Word Collection. (1988, Oct 06). The Washington Post (1974-Current File)
- Boston, R. (1989, Mar 24). Oxford's A to Z: The Origin. The Guardian (1959-2003)
- Baum, J. (1989, Apr 14). The Definitive Word On English: Second Edition Of the 100-Year-Old Oxford English Dictionary Took Five Years To Complete. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File)
- Goldstein, G. (1989, Apr 23). From 'A' To 'Zyxt' In 20 Volumes. Newsday (1940-1992)
- Johnson, S. & Webster, N. (1991, May 14). A Short History Of Dictionaries. The Guardian (1959-2003)
- Simpson, U. (2001, Jan 05). Www. OED.com: Q & A. The Times of India (1861-Current)
- Boland, R. (2007, Sep 22). Get Your Ya-Yas Out and Give Us Your Addy: The New Oxford English Dictionary Has Added a Few Modern Expressions. The Irish Times (1921-Current File)
- Gilliver, Peter. The Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. e-book
- Lerer, Seth. Inventing English: A Portable History of the Language. New York: Columbia University Press, c2007. e-book
- Oxford University Press. History of the OED. Website.
- Willinksy, John. Empire of Words: The Reign of the OED. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, c1994. e-book
- Volumes of the Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, Wikimedia Commons
- Special News Slide, Courtesy of the Gottesman Libraries
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