Goodbye to the Oxford English Dictionary

Creative Commons photo by Ben Hosking, modified by the author

…in print form, at least. The Telegraph is reporting that the next edition of the OED will probably not be published in print, “because of the impact of the internet on book sales.” It will continue to exist in online form, as it has for ten years.

An important distinction is that this is not the one-volume Oxford Dictionary of English, which is sold in many if not most bookstores. The 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary is considered the most definitive work on the English language, with complete etymology for all words. It was last published in 1989, and 80 lexicographers have been working on the next edition ever since. The next edition of the 20-volume OED is an estimated ten years from completion — as of now, it’s 28% finished.

Says the Telegraph:

Sales of the third edition of the vast tome have fallen due to the increasing popularity of online alternatives, according to its publisher.

The dictionary’s owner, Oxford University Press (OUP), said the impact of the internet means OED3 will probably appear only in electronic form…The most recent OED has existed online for more than a decade, where it receives two million hits a month from subscribers who pay an annual fee of £240.

“The print dictionary market is just disappearing, it is falling away by tens of per cent a year,” Nigel Portwood, the chief executive of OUP, told the Sunday Times.


It’s worth mentioning that the press will use this opportunity to once again sound the death knell of print publishing, based on shit data Amazon pulled out of its fragrant ass. It re-re-re-reported, as the media has been doing for months, Amazon’s report that ebooks outsell print books. This “fact” doesn’t take into account the fact that many of Amazon’s ebooks “sold” for the Kindle are free because they are public domain or sample chapters.

I could go hand out crack on the street, too, rather than selling it. I’d still go to prison if I got caught — but I’d never get myself a pink Jaguar that way. Get my point?

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One comment on “Goodbye to the Oxford English Dictionary
  1. Because of the advancement of technology. Written materials such as books, magazines, newspapers, etc. are less appreciated and not in use now. People find help and go directly to online information where they can easily find stuff they are looking for. Sad but that’s reality.

    Anna Marie

    Blog: carrelage cuisine 

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