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The Oxford English Dictionary - Essay Example

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The following essay entitled "The Oxford English Dictionary" deals with the peculiar features of one of the famous English dictionary. It is stated that when an individual wants to know the meaning of the word, the person makes use of a reference material called a dictionary. …
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The Oxford English Dictionary

Download file to see previous pages... However, the Oxford English Dictionary is regarded as the most comprehensive source of English words. (Kite) It contained about 400,000 words by the time it was first published. As a project, it was initially called A New English Dictionary or Historical Principles; Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by The Philological Society (Winchester).
The development of the OED was a long process. People started working on the material in 1857 (Winchester). However, the first time it was published was in 1884 (Kite), three decades after initial work began. The group who worked on the OED decided it was more efficient to publish the book in fascicles or installments. The first edition of the book had ten installments and was completed in 1928. (Kite)
The OED is a result of an idea from an association in Great Britain which studies the language. The Philological Society of London decided to collect and consolidate all the definitions of every English word in existence. (Gray) Some members grew dissatisfied with the existing dictionaries because there were words not included or defined in these reference materials. Richard Chevenix Trench, Herbert Coleridge, and Frederick Furnivall and the committee they formed initially searched for unlisted and undefined words in the dictionaries of the 19th century. (Winchester) Eventually, their task evolved into that of creating a truly all-inclusive dictionary and because the task was too big for a few people volunteers were asked to help out. (Winchester) Another task to complete was that of managing the entire compilation process altogether. Furnivall approached lexicographer James Murry for the editor position and the society tied up with Oxford University for the publication of the new dictionary. (Gray)
The process of creating the content for this new comprehensive dictionary was not an easy job. To be as far-reaching as possible, volunteers were told to note down word usage from books onto slips of paper or “quotation slips” which were then sent to back to Murray. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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