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A short account of what one British  Prime Minister called ‘the greatest achievement of its kind in history’.

A Concise History of the Oxford English Dictionary

At a grand party to celebrate completion of the first edition of the Dictionary the Prime Minister of the day called the achievement ‘the greatest enterprise of its kind in history’. The Times greeted the second edition as ‘The greatest work in dictionary making ever undertaken’. And The New York Times topped that with ‘The gigantic total picture of the English epic achievement.’

Wow! So what’s the story? How did it start? What preceded it? Who did the work? Why did it take so long? How did Oxford get involved? And why is the work never finished?

This concise history will give you answers to those questions and more in an account which naturally focuses on Oxford, home to the Dictionary for 130 years. Written in the centenary year of the death of its most famous editor, this book celebrates the man whose name is, above all others, synonymous with the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary: James Murray.


Concise OED Sample

15,000 words

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Read a Book Launch Report

COED Launch Dictionary  Song from Peter Madams

Listen to the Dictionary song at the book launch