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The Oxford English Dictionary (20 Volume…
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The Oxford English Dictionary (20 Volume Set) (Vols 1-20)

by John Simpson

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Simpson, John (editor) and Edmund Weiner (editor), The Oxford English Dictionary (20 Vol. Set), second edition (Oxford University Press, USA: 2 edition (December 26, 2002)
Twenty (20) volume set, hardcover: 22000 pages, 5 boxes ($995.00).
" 'Colonials' like me grew up in the shadow of this Everest of scholarship and the Himalayan series founded on its contents. And now, if we choose to, we can actually own the set, in its 2nd edition. This is a very desirable acquisition.
"Perhaps you worry that it might be an unwise purchase. We live in the age of the CD ROM, so why buy the printed volumes? The language seems to operate like a wheel rolling down a muddy slope picking up all manner of accretions as it progresses downhill. Will a work like this, then, become irrelevant? I think not. The citation formula used will always be relevant for readers interested in historical usage. The entire work constitutes, in a way, a history of the English Language, as well as a social history of English speaking peoples from the 12th century through to the end of the 20th century. Some scholars say it is unduly biased in the direction of English Victorian values, with a creeping pre-disposition toward a prescriptive rather than a descriptive stance on definitions. The compilers seem to want to position it to be a final arbiter on 'Correct Usage.' Who cares? It is manna in the wilderness to anyone who loves the language, who likes to browse, and is not stimulated by the inanity of television. If Political Correctness is the filter through which all literature must pass for you, you'll probably not read very much of value, anyway.
"No other dictionary is so richly enjoyable as a work to read on its own. One does not go to the OED just to find the meaning of a word, one is beguiled, on opening a volume, to read many pages about all kinds of words. You'll never walk into the British Museum or the Louvre just to look at a single piece of Art and leave having looked only at that one piece. Here is the great exhibition of the language, its gallery.
"All speakers and students of the language are in Oxford's debt, and will forever be so. No dictionary comes close in comprehensiveness of coverage (its word count, i.e., the quantity of words defined, exceeds that covered in any other competing dictionary). This set, rightly, is the central jewel in OUP's crown of publications. If you're a writer, you can't afford not to purchase this set.
"Legend has it that a new 'improved' edition will be out some time between 2001 and 2003. I sense that the improvements will appeal particularly to the ultra-scholarly linguist/lexicographers among its readers. Improvements shall include the addition of citations that might, for instance, antedate the earliest citation shown in a previous edition. It might, however, not be utterly essential to you you to know, for example, that the first user of the term 'Byronic' was Byron himself. The changes from the 2nd to the 3rd edition may be minimal, in print at least. Doubtless, there will be significant improvements to the search capability, appearance, and user friendliness of the software version. But, don't hesitate to purchase the printed 2nd edition. If you feel the CD ROM version is superior to the printed edition, this will boil down to whether or not you are a bibliophile. Nothing equals the tactile pleasure of the printed page, bound well. OED 2 is one of the handsomest printing jobs I've ever seen. The cloth binding is extremely rugged and well designed, elegant and solidly conservative in physical appearance. The paper is itself bright and smooth, the font/type clear and eminently readable. Even the dust jackets are beautiful, a real improvement over the previous design. 'Additions' volumes (times 3) are available for anyone interested in the vocabulary of the 90s. The 3rd edition will integrate these into the main work. But, a dictionary in the hand is worth two in the planning stage. And the beautiful volumes of the 2nd edition are available from Amazon.com at what amounts to bargain price.
"Buy this wonderful, beautifully produced and enduring work; it is a treasure for life that will never fail to impress you with the alluring beauty and quirky mutability of this most glorious of languages." -- Reader's Comment
"The 20-Volume OED and the new Version 3.0 CD-ROM [Version 3.1 was released December 10, 2004. A review of the CD-ROM version is included here because owners are dissatisfied with it. See reviews on Amazon.com. Understandably it is copy protected. However, 'Microsoft, in its quest to plug all of the gaping security holes in WinXP, implemented a security update August 8, 2006 that prevents this program and several others from launching. If you contact Microsoft and ask for HotFix KB924867, Microsoft will e-mail the HotFix to you.' If the user is not willing to "walk this maze" then apparently the vendor leaves them high and dry -- with a expensive purchase that is non-functional. -- sk] makes exploring the resources of the most authoritative dictionary of the English language easy and complete.
"The Oxford English Dictionary is the internationally recognized authority on the evolution of the English language from 1150 to the present day. The Dictionary defines over 500,000 words and traces their usage through 2.5 million illustrative quotations from a wide range of literary and other sources. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, pronunciation, and history of the English language.
"This new version of The Oxford English Dictionary (Second Edition) on CD-ROM thus offers unparalleled access to the world's most important reference work for the English language. The text of this version has been augmented with the inclusion of the Oxford English Dictionary Additions Series (Volumes 1-3), published in 1993 and 1997, the Bibliography to the Second Edition, and other ancillary material. New Features
*The powerful Advanced search makes it possible to make use of the full potential of the OED. Complex search expressions can be built through the use of Boolean operators, case-sensitive searching, exact character searching, restricting searches to previous search results, searching in pronunciations, and an extended range of wildcard options
*A new installation option makes it possible to run the Dictionary from the hard disk
*The Automatic Look-up feature enables fast access to OED headwords from any Microsoft Office 97 or 2000 application. This feature can be used within the OED CD-ROM itself to look up words in the definition or quotation text System requirements: PC with minimum 200 MHz Pentium-class processor; 32 MB RAM (64 MB recommended); 16-speed CD-ROM drive (32-speed recommended); Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, or XP (Local administrator rights are required to install and open the OED for the first time on a PC running Windows NT 4 and to install and run the OED on Windows 2000 and XP); 1.1 GB hard disk space to run the OED from the CD-ROM and 1.7 GB to install the CD-ROM to the hard disk: SVGA monitor: 800 x 600 pixels: 16-bit (64k, high color) setting recommended. -- Publisher's Annotation ( )
  lettermen | Dec 27, 2007 |
"The Oxford English Dictionary is more than a national monument to lexicography. The vast storehouse of the words and phrases that constitute the vocabulary of the English-speaking people is 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 ( )
  Rickmas | Dec 23, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0198611862, Hardcover)

The Oxford English Dictionary has long been considered the ultimate reference work in English lexicography. Compiled by the legendary editor James Murray and a staff of brilliant philologists and lexicographers (not to mention one homicidal maniac), the OED began as a a supplement to existing dictionaries, so that, as one lexicographer put it, "every word should be made to tell its own story." Enthusiastic readers sent Murray definitions and examples on identical slips of paper in response to a letter of appeal in 1879. By the time the last volume was published in 1928, the dictionary had swelled from 4 to 10 volumes containing over 400,000 entries. In the years since, the staff of the OED has continued to keep pace with our ever-evolving language, and today the dictionary weighs in at a whopping 20 volumes. The great joy of this dictionary lies in its extensive cross-references and word etymologies, which can run a full page or more. These features not only make the OED the most comprehensive and authoritative dictionary of the English language, but a delight to browse.

What writers like most about the Oxford English Dictionary

"I’m tempted to say that I love the OED because it contains every word in Middlemarch and To the Lighthouse, minus the unnecessary ones. I suspect, however, that that’s probably a familiar joke in dictionary circles."--Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours "The Oxford English Dictionary lets me follow the roots of words into the loamy depths of language. It lets me feel the abiding, generative life in it, the mysteries of its persistence and renewal."--Marilynne Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Home "The OED is one of my favorite ways of avoiding writing, which under other circumstances can be tortuous. But not with the OED. To begin, I look up a word. Then I get interested in its derivation, which suggests another word, another derivation, another word--Wow!"--Jeanne Marie Laskas, author of The Exact Same Moon

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:01 -0400)

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