What is the Oxford English Dictionary?

"The ultimate authority on the English language" - The Times

"The greatest dictionary in any language" - Daily Telegraph

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is the most authoritative and comprehensive record of the English language in the world, tracing the use and evolution of words over the last 1,500 years.

The OED online gives you the latest content of the full print edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, and also the Historical Thesaurus of the OED, illustrating how the meaning of a word has changed over time, providing more depth and breadth than ever before.

How do I use it?
  • What does this word actually mean? – find out the exact definitions of words from the most respected dictionary in the world
  • Discover when and where a word first came into the language – each entry tells you about the word’s origin and variant spellings, and the quotations illustrate how its use has changed over time
  • A word on the tip of your tongue? The largest thesaurus in the world allows you to explore similar words through time from the roots of English to the present day
  • Find out who contributes to the OED – from famous authors like J.R.R.Tolkien and Shakespeare, to readers all over the world
For more information about using The Oxford English Dictionary, please click here

How do I access it?
Your local public library can give you access within the library, or from home, at the website www.oed.com. Simply type in your library card number into the log in box on the website to access the resource.

For librarians
How do I promote it?
We have a number of ways to help you get the most out of The Oxford English Dictionary, all available via the Librarian Resource Centre, and all free of charge!

  • Free promotional materials
  • Short introductory PowerPoints
  • Live online training sessions
  • Recorded sessions from the training team
  • Download logos and banners
  • Quizzes
  • Training fact sheets (with ideas for training sessions)
  • Usage statistics
  • MARC records
Find all this and more at our page for librarians.

Our training team are happy to visit libraries for in-house, group sessions – just get in touch at library.marketing@oup.com


Visit the Email Alerts sign up page