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Help guides on Pierce's research databases.

Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Overview

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The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is a dictionary of words used in the English language throughout history. You can use it to find:

  • definitions;
  • pronunciations in American and British English;
  • word origins and developments (called etymologies); and,
  • examples of words being used throughout history from classic texts to modern film scripts and cookbooks.

If you are interested in the meaning of a word, its origins and development, or the English language, the OED has content for you. And, if you are looking for something fun, you can even discover a word that entered the English language the year you were born using their birthday word generator

Getting Started with the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

This 5 minute video shows you how to run a search & navigate the different parts of a word entry in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED):

Interested in learning more about searching and using the OED? 

Learn more about the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)