Oxford family of dictionaries

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This is a bibliography page, concerning a work to which reference is made elsewhere in this guide.


The OUP produces a large number of dictionaries. Their monoglot dictionaries of English have a wide range of purposes and intended readers. Apart from OED and SOD, the Press lists its dictionaries (priced from £4.50 to £35.00, February 2008) in its retail catalogue in an 'English Dictionary Selector' at [[1]]. These include, in order of size:

Concise Oxford English Dictionary
Be aware that other publishers occasionally print 'Oxford dictionaries'. These may be precisely similar reprints, such as the Book Club's issue of the Compact Oxford Dictionary, published as a 'special offer'; or with re-set type and a rather larger format, as in The Oxford Handy Dictionary published by the Chancellor Press, "© 1978 OUP" described as "1st published GB 1974 as the Pocket Oxford Dictionary (6th edition)."

Apart from the first four of these, none are to be particularly recommended for university students. Students of subjects where precision of language is important and those who meed to analyse detailed histories and meanings of words, such as students of linguistics or literature, and those who might need to understand changes in meaning over time, such as historians, should be sure to consult OED, or, for most purposes, SOD. All university libraries should have at least one of these; and there are usually several copies of the larger single volume dictionaries available for reference.