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Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (5. A.)…

Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (5. A.) of Current English. Deutsche… (original 1948; edition 2002)

by A. S. Hornby

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938714,169 (4.33)3
Title:Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (5. A.) of Current English. Deutsche Ausgabe. Läuft parallel zur 6. A
Authors:A. S. Hornby
Info:Cornelsen + Oxford (2002), Edition: 5. A., Gebundene Ausgabe
Collections:Your library

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Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary by A.S. Hornby (Author) (1948)



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Oxford Advanced
Learner's Dictionary
of Current English

A S Hornby

Seventh edition

Sally Wehmeier: Chief Editor

Oxford University Press, Hardback, 2006.

8vo. xii+1780 pp.+Maps1-5+R25-119. Editors: Colin McIntosh & Joanna Turnbull. Phonetics Editor: Michael Ashby.

First published, 1948 (12 impressions).
2nd edition, 1963 (19 impressions).
3rd edition, 1974 (28 impressions).
4th edition, 1989 (50 impressions).
5th edition, 1995 (65 impressions).
6th edition, 2000 (117 impressions).
7th edition, 2005.
4th impression, 2006.


Abbreviations, symbols and labels used in the dictionary
Key to verb patterns
Key to dictionary entries
Numbers and symbols

The Dictionary

Colour topic pages:
between pages 436 and 437
R1 Cars
R2 Boats
R4 Computing
R6 Musical instruments
R8 Aircraft
between pages 884 and 885
R9 Buildings
R10 Cooking
R12 Fruit and vegetables
R14 Clothes
R16 Homes
between pages 1332 and 1333
R17 Houses
R18 Health
R20 The animal kingdom
R22 Sports
R24 Extreme sports

Map 1 The British Isles
Map 2 Canada, the United States of America and the Caribbean
Map 3 The Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Austria and the Swiss Confederation
Map 4 The world
Map 5 Australia and New Zealand

Reference section

R26 Grammar
R50 Study pages
R58 Other reference
R99 The Oxford 3000
R118 Pronunciation and phonetic symbols in the dictionary


A bit weird reviewing a dictionary, isn’t it? Well, no weirder than reviewing travel guides or cookbooks – or any other book, for that matter.

The first English dictionary I ever used extensively was a low-priced reissue of the 26th impression of the 3rd edition of Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (OALD). I’ve never really needed another one. Dictionaries are no great help in learning a language; other books, newspapers, movies, TV programs and, above all, conversation are far more useful in this respect. But they are great fun to browse. Few works of fiction and non-fiction have I found as engrossing as a great dictionary. As Somerset Maugham might have said, it is redolent of romance.[1]

It goes without saying that OALD is no substitute for OED. It was never meant to be. There is no space here for etymological subtleties or those utterly marvellous selections of chronologically organised quotations that go back for centuries. You won’t find here even such famous, thanks to Leo DiCaprio these days, words like “revenant”. If you’re looking for Victorian crime slang (e.g. “snakesman”) or obscure sport terms like the tennis meaning of “bagel” (wining or losing a set to zero[2]), you won’t find those here, either. So much for the “defects”.

What you will find here are most words that make “current English”, concisely explained and phonetically transcribed (including many differences between British and American pronunciation), extensive information on idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs, and generous supply of illustrations (black-and-white in the text, in full colour in 24 pages of colour plates and the maps). All this is neatly printed in two columns on thin (but not transparent) white paper: headwords and idioms in blue, the rest in black with every new meaning numbered in bold. Numerous blue boxes give important additional information, usually about synonyms which are not quite as synonymous as you might have thought. The layout is pleasing to the eye and really easy to navigate. The Reference Section in the end provides comprehensive background from the tricks and treats of grammar to the correct pronunciation of the most common first names and the conversion of metric into imperial units.

The only boring parts of this book are the Foreword by Henry Widdowson (vii-viii) and the essay by Barbara Seidlhofer from the University of Vienna on “English as a lingua franca” (R92). The only points to alleviate Mr Widdowson’s crashing (indeed, crushing) dullness are his noting that this Seventh edition is published exactly 250 years after Dr Johnson’s epoch-making effort in 1755 and that meanwhile (thank you, Captain Obvious) English has been diversified into regional variations all around the world that would have been bewildering to the good doctor. As for Frau Seidlhofer, she observes, rather sententiously, that “it’s easy to dismiss ELF [English as Lingua Franca] as the use of ‘incorrect’ English by people who have not learned it very well, but it is an entirely natural linguistic development”. That’s right, Barbara. It is easy. Should we make it difficult for the sake of difficulty? Frau Seidlhofer has a good point about the natural linguistic development, but she misses the point with her timid examples (e.g. missed articles or using “this” with plural nouns) and especially by failing to recognise the role of Internet in the spread of modern languages. If we don’t oppose the current trend of staggering sloppiness, even among native speakers (perhaps especially among them!), English would soon be reduced to things like “i got not 4 u” and “c u 2morow”.

OALD does, of course, have an online version. It’s charmingly done, shamelessly free, and you can actually hear all those differences between British and American pronunciation. But if you are marooned offline, the paper version – even the Seventh Edition which is already two editions too old – will do just as nicely for idle and pleasant browsing. That’s the kind of book you can read any time in any mood and never be bored. Just be sure to skip the Foreword and page R92…

[1] Maugham did say that about “the price-list of the Army and Navy Stores, the lists of second-hand book-sellers, and the A B C.” See The Summing Up (1938), Chapter XXV.
[2] This delightful tennis term is usually a verb (“X bagelled Y”), the past participle often being used with “get” or “be” (“X got/was bagelled by Y”), but less often it can be a noun as well (“X received a bagel from Y in the second set”). For the record, “breadstick” means winning or losing a set 6-1. For more information, see Macmillan Dictionary. ( )
1 vote Waldstein | May 20, 2016 |
Ninth edition
  IICANA | May 16, 2016 |
I LOVE my Advanced Learners Dictionary when I hold it I feel like a Professional :3 ( )
  Soplada | Feb 27, 2014 |
I found this dictionary rather frustrating, at least for pupils with English as a foreign language. The explanations often used words I didn't know, so I had to read several other entries, until I finally lost track of what I was looking for.

(I've used the 1984 edition at that time, so maybe the dictionary has improved since. Recommendation: try the Collins English Dictionary.)
1 vote hnau | Feb 6, 2009 |
Very decent for students, though modern dictionaries are more elaborate...
  zerkalo | Aug 25, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (47 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hornby, A.S.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gatenby, Edward VivianAuthorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wakefield, H.Authorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cowie, Anthony Paulsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 019431510X, Paperback)

The world's leading dictionary that teaches students how to use English.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:28 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Please note this edition contains a CD-Rom. The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary gives more help and more support than any other dictionary at this level. It focuses on learners' need to understand and use words correctly, and to develop their core language skills. The 8th edition features a new interactive Oxford iWriter and a new 32-page Oxford Writing Tutor, specifically designed to improve writing skills. NEW Oxford iWriter and Oxford Writing Tutor: Teachers and students around the world have told us how difficult it is to write well in English. Now students can learn how to structure their essays, how to write different types of essays and presentations, and how to write formal English. ELT Dictionary.… (more)

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