Oxford English Dictionary  Connect to Oxford English Dictionary
Also known as: OED, OED Online
Access: Internet-delivered database. There are three ways to connect:
  1. from a public computer in the University of Delaware Library
  2. from a University of Delaware campus connection in your dorm, lab, or office
  3. from an off-campus connection (University of Delaware ID required)

The Oxford English Dictionary is a historical dictionary of English, covering the language from the earliest times to the present day. It shows not only the current meanings of words, but also traces their development through time. Entries contain detailed etymological analysis and are illustrated by quotations from a wide range of English language sources from around the world. For more than a century, the Oxford English Dictionary has been the undisputed authority on the history and development of the English language.

The online Oxford English Dictionary enables the full text of the Dictionary to be searched in a way impossible in the printed version. The Dictionary is being completely revised. Every one of the 250,000 entries is being updated, and many more will be added during the course of the revision program, which is expected to double the length of the text.

Advanced Search options enable you to:

  • search using Boolean operators, and across different fields, in a single search (e.g., how many words are illustrated by a citation from Jane Austen AND come from French OR German?)

  • perform case-sensitive searches (e.g., find all references to BASIC the computer programming language, and not the adjective “basic”)

  • search for accented and other special characters (e.g., non-Roman alphabets,such as Hebrew and Arabic, chemical and mathematical symbols, and Old English characters)

  • find all words derived from a specified language with a single search (e.g., a search for “Sanskrit” in the new Language Names field will also look for abbreviated forms such as ‘Skr.’, ‘Skt.’, and ‘Sk.’)

  • restrict a search to entries with a particular part of speech (e.g., everything from nouns and adjectives to conjunctions and interjections)

  • search the OED's pronunciations to find all the words containing a particular sound.

Updated: quarterly (additions to the New Edition)

You can add OED Online to your browser’s toolbar.

Visit Word of the Day to see a sample OED entry.

Output Formats: Click on the “Mail” button at the bottom of the screen to send a clickable URL for a particular dictionary entry to a specified mail recipient.
Help: Click on the “Help” button at the bottom of the screen. About the OED Project and Guide to OED Entries provide an overview of the OED and how to use the online version. Find out more about OED Online in the News section. For further assistance, Ask the Library.
Related Resources:

The Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary is also available in print (Ref PE 1625 .O87 1989) and in a CD-ROM version (Microforms, Morris Library (CD-ROM 170)).

For other online dictionaries, see Virtual Reference Desk: Dictionaries.

Users: unlimited concurrent users
Producer: Oxford University Press

This page is maintained by Erin Daix, Collection Development Department.

Last modified: 05/16/14