I have said on many an occasion that I would dearly love to own a full set of the printed OED, dear though it is. There is a CDROM version that, while expensive, is substantially cheaper than the print. But it must be said, that it is the print which I desire most. At MPOW I recently re-organised the shelf-space near the computer and bought in a couple of old books from home including an elderly edition (1976) of The concise Oxford dictionary of current English. I’m now using the print edition daily as it is at arm’s length, and seemingly quicker to use than online. I’d become increasingly frustrated using online dictionaries as the free access I have doesn’t include a browse option ie if I don’t get the spelling quite right, I get a “word not found” result and naught else. The print edition allows me to browse and explore. Of course, the full 20 volume OED would not be so easily accessible as the single volume I have at work. It is is however a boon to comfortable exploration. I have worked in libraries that have the full OED, including a law library that had them lined up on a shelf directly behind the reference desk. Interestingly, work on the next edition, the third, was due to be completed for publication in 2010; alas it’s now unlikely to appear on the shelves before 2037 and will expand to 40 volumes containing 980,000 words.
I understand, I agree – there is something satisfying about seeing a bookshelf, fat with all those words…
I love dictionaries!
Hey cool fact about the OED in 2037!
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