The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, Volume 1

Front Cover
Lesley Brown
Clarendon Press, 1993 - English language - 3801 pages
For the past sixty-five years, the massive Oxford English Dictionary has offered the last word on the English language. Now, Oxford University Press is pleased to announce a landmark new dictionary--The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary--that brings the authority of the Oxford Dictionary Department and the vast scholarship of the OED itself within the reach of individuals. This completely new dictionary covers virtually every word or phrase in use in English--worldwide--since 1700. Not strictly an abridgment of the OED, the New Shorter draws on the OED's ongoing revision as well as its own independent research program. Each entry provides all the information you would expect from a leading unabridged dictionary: it identifies each word's various meanings, origins, part of speech, pronunciation (in the International Phonetic Alphabet), and combinations in which the word is often found, as well as cross-references to related words. The New Shorter, however, offers something that no competitor can match: the historical, literary approach made justly famous by the OED. Thousands upon thousands of changing meanings are followed through history, illustrated by more than 83,000 quotations, from Ben Franklin to Lord Byron, from Jane Austen to KazuoIshiguro. The changing emphasis in the meaning of fiend, for instance, is shown by quotes ranging from Milton ("The Gates ... belching outrageous flame ... since the Fiend pass'd through") to J.D. Salinger ("Old Brossard was a bridge fiend, and he started looking around the dorm for a game"). The historical approach of The New Shorter offers a true feel for our rich, subtly textured language. Words are a palimpsest: along with their current meanings, many words contain the shadows of their past definitions. Understanding a word's history can help writers and speakers charge their language with nuance as well as precision. The New Shorter offers a delightful introduction to the fruits of etymology, providing a fascinating guide to the evolution of language--for both scholars and those who need a practical aid to contemporary usage.

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User Review  - HannahKiwi - LibraryThing

Despite its brilliance, there remains only two reasons one would own the Shorter OED: because one cannot afford the Complete OED or because one owns the OED, but needs something more compact for weekend usage. Read full review

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User Review  - hippietrail - LibraryThing

Short of the full OED (or the compact microprint version), I would consider this the bible of the English language. Though I do intend to supplement it with an unabridged Webster's one day. Read full review



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