What is OED?
OED or Oxford English Dictionary is the most respected dictionary and considered as the authority in the English language. It contains more than 600,000 words from the past up the present with guides to their meanings and pronunciation among others. It is published by the Oxford University Press in London England.
The OED didn’t actually start out with Oxford University at first. The idea of creating the dictionary originated with some sort of Philological Society with Richard C. Trench, Frederick Furnivall, and Herbert Coleridge as the main members. In the year 1857, these intellectuals were not satisfied with the current available dictionaries and so thought of “searching” for words that are unlisted on the dictionaries back then. Based on their studies and research also, there were many inconsistencies and wrong data on available dictionaries like wrong dates for earliest word usage, inconsistencies in covering related word families, not enough coverage on obsolete words, and redundancy in content among others. But later on they realized that the number of words which are considered “unlisted” were far too many than the words found on available dictionaries, and so they shifted their focus on creating a more comprehensive dictionary.
Years passed but with their hard work, they were able to convince the Oxford University Press to publish and print their dictionary. By 1879, the Philological Society’s dictionary was published. And in 1895, the OED name was first used appearing on the outer covers of the dictionary fascicles. But the first full volume of OED came out in 1928 with a supplement in 1933. Over the years supplements were added to various letters of the dictionary adding to the total number of volumes. When the year 1983 came, the Oxford University Press again started to work on a new version called the New Oxford English Dictionary or NOED. This project was finally completed with a print version released in 1989.
To date, the Oxford University Press is still working on the third edition. This version may only be released electronically and not on printed form. There have been several news articles that surfaced regarding the OUP’s decision to most likely release the 3rd edition of OED through the internet only. This is obviously due to the impact made by internet-based dictionaries on printed types.