New Oxford Dictionary of English
new single-volume compilation based on modern usage
The New Oxford Dictionary of English is a one-volume giant from Oxford University Press and a departure from their normal practice. Instead of being based on other dictionaries, it’s a completely new selection of words, compiled after in-depth analysis of computerized databases of contemporary English. The emphasis is very much on current relevance. Each word is defined first by its modern meaning, as used by the majority of people. Rulings are given on tricky questions of usage – [due to is not the same as because of, for instance]. These provide advice on old and new problems.
This populist approach may not please traditionalists, but the dictionary is certainly very user-friendly – and that’s in there too. The other principal novelty is the inclusion of encyclopedia-type entries. So, for instance, opening randomly at the letter ‘P’ – you are offered ‘perquisite’, followed by potted biographies of Charles Perrault, Fred Perry, and Persephone; then a micro-history of Persia, and an explanation of correct usage for the ‘personal pronoun’. I suspect these will make this a popular choice for those people who want a serious dictionary and a useful general reference book all in one.
Brief notes on word history explain the linguistic roots of words and tell the story of how a word’s meaning and form have changed over time. Modern pronunciations are also given, using the internationally recognized pronunciation system. A rapid-reference page design separates out parts of speech, word histories, and phrases.
This new revised edition embraces the OUP’s latest style of having the headword printed in a bold san-serif font, with the explanation which follows in Times Roman (serif). Extra notes then revert to san-serif in a grey box. All this variety makes it something of a typographic jumble – but it is easy to use. Here’s what a typical entry looks like:
|ear 1 > noun the organ of hearing and balance in humans and other vertebrates, especially the external part of this
• an organ sensitive to sound in other animals. •
— PHRASES be all ears informal
© Roy Johnson 2005
The New Oxford Dictionary of English, 2nd revised edn, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005, pp.2010, ISBN: 0198610572
English language links
- English Language 3.0 (.html)
English Language 3.0 tells you everything you need to know about English — language rules, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Improve your written style. Get rid of mistakes. Quiz questions and exercises help you to check your understanding. Learn how language works. Suitable for all levels – from beginners to advanced. Latest version allows you to […]
If you found this article interesting you might want to Tell-A-Friend.