The 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary is the accepted authority on the evolution of the English language over the last millennium. It traces the usage of words through 2.4 million quotations from a wide range of international English language sources. The OED has a unique historical focus. Accompanying each definition is a chronologically arranged group of quotations that trace the usage of words, and show the contexts in which they can be used. The quotations are drawn from a huge variety of sources worldwide - literary, scholarly, technical, and popular - and represent authors as disparate as Geoffrey Chaucer and Erica Jong, William Shakespeare, Charles Darwin and Isabella Beeton. Other features distinguishing the entries in the Dictionary are authoritative definitions; detailed information on pronunciation using the International Phonetic Alphabet; listings of variant spellings used throughout each word's history; extensive treatment of etymology; and details of area of usage and of any regional characteristics. Alongside the print edition is the Oxford English Dictionary Online (www.oed.com).
Updated quarterly, this award-winning online resource allows the Dictionary to evolve with the English language while the print edition remains as a historical record. Subscriptions are available to OED online on an individual or institutional basis. Visit www.oup.com/online/oed/ for details.
J. A. Simpson worked on the Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary and prepared the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, which was published in 1982. E. S. C. Weiner also served on the editorial staff of the Supplement and compiled the Oxford Guide to English Usage, which was published in 1983.