Reading the OED

Reading the OED

One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages

Book - 2008
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An obsessive word lover's account of reading the Oxford English Dictionary cover to cover.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Group, 2008.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780399533983
0399533982
Branch Call Number: 423.092 SHE
Characteristics: xvi, 223 p. ; 21 cm.

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p
puffycat
Jul 13, 2018

Try "The Professor and the Madman" by Simon Winchester on the the people who labored on the project for decades. There is a Seattle connection to one of the two title characters.

m
Morwen
Jul 11, 2018

Part a narrative of his experience and part a listing of words he found interesting. To me, they weren't words, just collections of syllables. And since he gave no history or etymology, we don't know if anyone really used them or when. In his defense, he studied Latin and so, to him, these words may have seemed like music. When he reached the Ws, he felt lost because there was no Latin W . The W words were more likely to be Anglo-Saxon or German words and would have felt more real to me.

The narrative was mostly bloggish. He described vision loss, confusion, back problems with no thought to long-term consequences.

It was quite a short book, considering . . . I will say I am now inspired to spend a certain amount of time each day with the OED online, but I will not be reading all of it.

f
fledge
Jan 03, 2018

Reading the entire OED – yes, an English dictionary that has 21,730 pages – is a bit fanciful or, perhaps, farcical. The OED has no “story,” except in the individual words it defines and the personalities who developed it. Reading the complete OED and then writing about the experience is a bit like climbing Mt Everest. It’s doable, but there’s a risk that you will have chewed up an entire year. As an excurion into words and obsession, it’s worth thinking about. Recommended for hard-core language connoisseurs.

m
margies
Jan 09, 2017

Oh, come on. How much of it did you read??? I have the whole thing and refer to it sometimes. And then I get lost in it.

You are likely to find every single word I've used in writing this in the OED.

e
email_becs
Jul 25, 2010

Questionable, dirty parts. Not suitable for kids.

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email_becs
Jul 25, 2010

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

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email_becs
Jul 25, 2010

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

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email_becs
Jul 25, 2010

email_becs thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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