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We are pleased to announce that we will be running a paid summer internship programme in the summer of , with positions available in our General Editorial team and Science Editorial team. This is a most enjoyable book. The making of the first edition of the OED is surprisingly filled with event. The gigantic task took a lifetime and survived four editors before it was finally concluded. He was followed by Fredrick Furnivall who took up the job with intense enthusiasm and then lost interest--neglecting the task to such an extent that the project was nearly cancelled.
Fortunately h This is a most enjoyable book. Fortunately he supported the idea of being replaced by James Murray. Most of the rest of the book is devoted to the Herculean lexicographic labours of this remarkable man who--more than any other is responsible for the plan that has made the OED the ultimate English language dictionary.
Murray died in and his successor and good friend Harry Bradley passed away in Finally, in William Craigie and C. Onions brought the task to an end. But as the book shows, the task is never at an end. There were several supplements and a second edition. Winchester's book is anecdotal in style rather than academic. But he makes the most of all the remarkable stories that are involved in the history of this very long project, narrating in lively prose the various clashes of personalities, competing visions, and enlivening every chapter with amazing anecdotes of all kinds.
As one would expect, of all the characters--some remarkably vivid--James Murray particularly stands out. He was born in humble circumstances and his formal education ended at the age of Yet, he became the most important editor of the greatest English dictionary ever made. This book is certainly an entertaining and instructive history of a great monument of scholarship. This was fun and readable despite partly because of? I enjoyed the first couple of chapters the most, especially the parts on the history of dictionaries and lexicography in general. The daunting logistical issues posed by the project were also fascinating — so many problems that simply don't exist any more, like "how do I organise these millions of little handwritten slips" or "how do I keep copies and keep track of all this volumi This was fun and readable despite partly because of?
The daunting logistical issues posed by the project were also fascinating — so many problems that simply don't exist any more, like "how do I organise these millions of little handwritten slips" or "how do I keep copies and keep track of all this voluminous daily correspondence without going insane".
I think overall they'd have saved a lot of time by abandoning the project in favour of putting all that brainpower and hundreds of years' worth of person-hours to work on inventing the computer a bit sooner.
I'd have liked to learn more about the processes involved in hunting down etymologies etc and a bit less about the quirks and habits of the huge cast of characters involved in the production of them, but I suppose that's me being a nerd on this topic and such an exchange would not actually improve the book. A small thing that needled me enough that I can't help noting it: I was intensely annoyed by the author's snooty footnote "Even Homer nods" in reference to Murray the OED's chief editor for the majority of the project writing "less" rather than "fewer" with a count noun. C'mon dude, you spent at least a few paragraphs early on explaining why the descriptivist approach of the editorial team was the only sensible one; can you not manage to generalise this realisation enough to keep a lid on your pointless complaints about perfectly common and accepted usages like that?
Worth reading if you like words or are interested in list-making processes, for sure! I'm disturbed by the current trend of history authors focusing more on the biographies of the inviduals involved in a project rather than the ideas behind it. Have we as readers convinced them we are that voyeuristic? Is the People magazine approach to intellectual history the only thing that sells these days? Or do hardcore fans simply become so enamored of the figures who made it all possible that they cannot resist the urge to delve into the personal?
This would be understandable if an author I'm disturbed by the current trend of history authors focusing more on the biographies of the inviduals involved in a project rather than the ideas behind it. This would be understandable if an author like Winchester decided instead to write a complete biography with all the depth and attention to character nuance that entails.
The tantalizing title lured me with notions of lexis and alphabet amory, but the book generally restricted those ideas to the first chapter and epilogue. If the company I work for or any project I've helped bring to fruition were ever reason for a researcher to spit out juicy tidbits about my personal life and those of my colleagues, I would hardly consider it an honor.
Feb 11, Don rated it really liked it. I've always wondered what some of the first 'crowd-sourced' add that word to the OED please efforts were in the world. Though not completely open like Wikipedia, the OED must be one of the first due to the efforts of thousands worldwide contributors. Yet, the words of the English language were funneled through the OED editors -- but, it couldn't have been produced without the world's help.
This was an enjoyable ride into the history of the Oxford English Dictionary from beginning to end.
Winch I've always wondered what some of the first 'crowd-sourced' add that word to the OED please efforts were in the world. Winchester really brings both the supreme effort and the personalities alive in the approximately 60 year journey. Both the leaders and editors fight and claw their way through it only to discovered just how immense the English language really is. But most of the accolades must be given to James Murray - who single-handedly drove the dictionary to its final form and structure. All in all this is an interesting and quick read - well worth the time!
The last word in the OED now is 'zyzzyva' compared to 'zyxt' when it was first completed in Mar 29, Troy Blackford rated it it was amazing. This is exactly the kind of thing I love.
You have a grand story of real human endeavor and achievement--the inception and construction of the first Oxford English Dictionary--filtered through the lens of the very human characters involved in its construction and the outrageously difficult, outlandishly remarkable one man contributed enormous amounts from inside an insane asylum , and everything in between. You get huge doses of history of language, of dictionaries, of England itself and larg This is exactly the kind of thing I love.
You get huge doses of history of language, of dictionaries, of England itself and large smatterings of personal color I had known that J. Tolkien himself helped with part of the W-words, but more of that story is here. All throughout, Winchester's great love of and erudition on the topic of the Oxford English Dictionary shines through like a beacon. I found this book to be remarkable in almost every way.
I can recommend it to lovers of words and to those with more than a passing interest in language and the history of the methods by which human beings have been trapping it with the pages of books. Aug 30, Brierly added it Shelves: I read this book for a class on the history and development of the English language.
Fascinating story of the creation of the O. Have you ever wondered why we have dictionaries and who decides what goes in them? What about which dictionary to use--what does that say about you? This book sparked an interest in dictionaries in America to be clear, the book is centered on England and how the American English variant was legitimized by the Webster's dictionary. I ended up presenting my researc I read this book for a class on the history and development of the English language.
Because of that, I appreciate this book. Jul 07, Julie rated it liked it Recommends it for: Not for everyone, but word nerds will enjoy. It reads more like a page book so at points I just had to skim-too many lists. It does make me more curious about "The Professor and the Madman" which sounds like it may be a much more interesting read.
Filled with truly gem-like details-my favorite-that Julian Barnes was one of the "unsung" wordsmiths who worked on the editing of the revised edition. Sep 27, Kim rated it it was ok. I recommended this for our book club based on its reviews, and the fact that it's about the dictionary. We're all word lovers, of course we're going to love this book! No one liked it. The words most often used were "boring" and "dry. Then I threw the book across the room. Jul 18, Kris rated it really liked it Shelves: A quite lovely little dip into OED history.
This is one of Winchester's more enjoyable books, probably because it's shorter and less long-winded. But I did find gaps in some of his historical descriptions of people and events surrounding the OED, and thought he could have fleshed out and organized things just a bit better. Still, quite a fun read and I'd recommend it. A package of sheer joy. Mar 19, Josh rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a book about the history of the OED.
Interested readers will self-identify. For English is a language that simply cannot be fixed, nor can it ever be absolutely laid down. It changes constantly; it grows with an almost exponential joy. It evolves eternally; its words alter their senses and their meanings subtly, slowly, or speedily according to fashion and need. Dictionaries that record and catalog the language cannot ever be prescriptive; they must always be entirely descriptive, telling of the language as it is, not as it should http: Dictionaries that record and catalog the language cannot ever be prescriptive; they must always be entirely descriptive, telling of the language as it is, not as it should be.
I loved being one of the few people who knew and studied! The Meaning of Everything has been on Mt. TBR for 4 years, 10 months which qualifies it for The Mt. TBR Struggle is Real challenge! The entire prologue and first chapter is nothing but an ode to the love of monied men in Victorian England. Winchester waxed poetically about their intelligence, their money and their leisure. It came very close to being a DNF. But once I got past all of that, I was rewarded with a great story. The English language - so fast, so sprawling, so wonderfully unwieldy, so subtle, and now in it's never-ending fullness so undeniably magnificent - is in its essence the language of invasion.
In fact, the first mention of any woman happened on page Through most of my read, I was quite…surprised by a lot of things. The longest entry in the OED2 was for the verb set , which required 60, words to describe some senses. As entries began to be revised for the OED3 in sequence starting from M, the longest entry became make in , then put in , then run in Despite its considerable size, the OED is neither the world's largest nor the earliest exhaustive dictionary of a language. Another earlier large dictionary is the Grimm brothers ' dictionary of the German language , begun in and completed in The Kangxi dictionary of Chinese was published in The dictionary began as a Philological Society project of a small group of intellectuals in London and unconnected to Oxford University: The Society expressed interest in compiling a new dictionary as early as ,  but it was not until June that they began by forming an "Unregistered Words Committee" to search for words that were unlisted or poorly defined in current dictionaries.
In November, Trench's report was not a list of unregistered words; instead, it was the study On Some Deficiencies in our English Dictionaries , which identified seven distinct shortcomings in contemporary dictionaries: The Society ultimately realized that the number of unlisted words would be far more than the number of words in the English dictionaries of the 19th century, and shifted their idea from covering only words that were not already in English dictionaries to a larger project.
Trench suggested that a new, truly comprehensive dictionary was needed. On 7 January , the Society formally adopted the idea of a comprehensive new dictionary. Richard Chenevix Trench — played the key role in the project's first months, but his Church of England appointment as Dean of Westminster meant that he could not give the dictionary project the time that it required. He withdrew and Herbert Coleridge became the first editor. On 12 May , Coleridge's dictionary plan was published and research was started.
His house was the first editorial office. He arrayed , quotation slips in a 54 pigeon-hole grid. Furnivall then became editor; he was enthusiastic and knowledgeable, but temperamentally ill-suited for the work. Furthermore, many of the slips were misplaced. Furnivall believed that, since many printed texts from earlier centuries were not readily available, it would be impossible for volunteers to efficiently locate the quotations that the dictionary needed. As a result, he founded the Early English Text Society in and the Chaucer Society in to publish old manuscripts.
Furnivall recruited more than volunteers to read these texts and record quotations. While enthusiastic, the volunteers were not well trained and often made inconsistent and arbitrary selections. Ultimately, Furnivall handed over nearly two tons of quotation slips and other materials to his successor. In the s, Furnivall unsuccessfully attempted to recruit both Henry Sweet and Henry Nicol to succeed him. He then approached James Murray , who accepted the post of editor.
In the late s, Furnivall and Murray met with several publishers about publishing the dictionary. In , Oxford University Press agreed with Murray to proceed with the massive project; the agreement was formalized the following year. It was another 50 years before the entire dictionary was complete. Late in his editorship, Murray learned that a prolific reader named W. Minor was a criminal lunatic. Minor invented his own quotation-tracking system, allowing him to submit slips on specific words in response to editors' requests.
During the s, the Philological Society was concerned with the process of publishing a dictionary with such an immense scope. The OUP finally agreed in after two years of negotiating by Sweet, Furnivall, and Murray to publish the dictionary and to pay Murray, who was both the editor and the Philological Society president.
uzotoqadoh.tk: The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary The Meaning of Everything and millions of other books are available for . Prime Book Box, a subscription that delivers hand-picked children's books every 1, . and was based in Belfast, New Delhi, New York, London and Hong Kong. Home Blog The Meaning of Everything: a new preface which specifically relates to Thomas More's book of the same title) Serendipitous pleasure always one of the great charms of the printed version of the OED, but.
The dictionary was to be published as interval fascicles, with the final form in four volumes, totalling 6, pages. They hoped to finish the project in ten years. Murray started the project, working in a corrugated iron outbuilding called the " Scriptorium " which was lined with wooden planks, book shelves, and 1, pigeon-holes for the quotation slips. For instance, there were ten times as many quotations for abusion as for abuse. The first dictionary fascicle was published on 1 February —twenty-three years after Coleridge's sample pages.
The OUP saw that it would take too long to complete the work with unrevised editorial arrangements. Accordingly, new assistants were hired and two new demands were made on Murray. Murray had his Scriptorium re-erected on his new property. Murray resisted the second demand: Murray did not want to share the work, feeling that he would accelerate his work pace with experience.
In , Bradley moved to Oxford University. Gell continued harassing Murray and Bradley with his business concerns—containing costs and speeding production—to the point where the project's collapse seemed likely. Newspapers reported the harassment, particularly the Saturday Review , and public opinion backed the editors. If the editors felt that the dictionary would have to grow larger, it would; it was an important work, and worth the time and money to properly finish.
Neither Murray nor Bradley lived to see it. By then, two additional editors had been promoted from assistant work to independent work, continuing without much trouble.
By early , a total of 11 fascicles had been published, or about one per year: At this point, it was decided to publish the work in smaller and more frequent instalments; once every three months beginning in there would be a fascicle of 64 pages, priced at 2s 6d. If enough material was ready, or even pages would be published together.
This pace was maintained until World War I forced reductions in staff. It then appeared only on the outer covers of the fascicles; the original title was still the official one and was used everywhere else. The th and last fascicle covered words from Wise to the end of W and was published on 19 April , and the full dictionary in bound volumes followed immediately. William Shakespeare is the most-quoted writer in the completed dictionary, with Hamlet his most-quoted work. George Eliot Mary Ann Evans is the most-quoted female writer.
Collectively, the Bible is the most-quoted work but in many different translations ; the most-quoted single work is Cursor Mundi. Between and , enough additional material had been compiled to make a one-volume supplement, so the dictionary was reissued as the set of 12 volumes and a one-volume supplement in In , Oxford had finally put the dictionary to rest; all work ended, and the quotation slips went into storage.
However, the English language continued to change and, by the time 20 years had passed, the dictionary was outdated. There were three possible ways to update it. The cheapest would have been to leave the existing work alone and simply compile a new supplement of perhaps one or two volumes; but then anyone looking for a word or sense and unsure of its age would have to look in three different places. The most convenient choice for the user would have been for the entire dictionary to be re-edited and retypeset , with each change included in its proper alphabetical place; but this would have been the most expensive option, with perhaps 15 volumes required to be produced.
The OUP chose a middle approach: Robert Burchfield was hired in to edit the second supplement;  Onions turned 84 that year but was still able to make some contributions as well. The work on the supplement was expected to take about seven years. They were published in , , , and respectively, bringing the complete dictionary to 16 volumes, or 17 counting the first supplement.
Burchfield emphasized the inclusion of modern-day language and, through the supplement, the dictionary was expanded to include a wealth of new words from the burgeoning fields of science and technology, as well as popular culture and colloquial speech.
This book renewed my admiration for the OED , and made me wish all the more strongly that I owned a copy. He was an American who had fought in the American Civil War and was traumatised by his experiences. The OED web site is not optimized for mobile devices, but the developers have stated that there are plans to provide an API that would enable developers to develop different interfaces for querying the OED. But then, this is a short book. Still, quite a fun read and I'd recommend it.
Burchfield said that he broadened the scope to include developments of the language in English-speaking regions beyond the United Kingdom , including North America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, and the Caribbean. Burchfield also removed, for unknown reasons, many entries that had been added to the supplement. Some of these had only a single recorded usage, but many had multiple recorded citations, and it ran against what was thought to be the established OED editorial practice and a perception that he had opened up the dictionary to "World English".
By the time the new supplement was completed, it was clear that the full text of the dictionary would need to be computerized. Preparation for this process began in , and editorial work started the following year under the administrative direction of Timothy J. Benbow, with John A. Simpson and Edmund S. See The Word Detective: Basic Books, New York. In the United States, more than typists of the International Computaprint Corporation now Reed Tech started keying in over ,, characters, their work checked by 55 proof-readers in England.
Under a agreement, some of this software work was done at the University of Waterloo , Canada, at the Centre for the New Oxford English Dictionary , led by Frank Tompa and Gaston Gonnet ; this search technology went on to become the basis for the Open Text Corporation.