Dictionaries | Southwestern Illinois College

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) – started life more than 150 years ago and is widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of 600,000 words— past and present—from across the English-speaking world.

As a historical dictionary, the OED is very different from dictionaries of current English, in which the focus is on present-day meanings. You’ll still find present-day meanings in the OED, but you’ll also find the history of individual words, and of the language—traced through 3 million quotations, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books.

How do new words enter the OED?

Whether by sudden invention or unhurried evolution, words come into the English language in all manner of ways.

The Oxford English Dictionary’s mission is to record all of these word stories, capturing their development as they continue to unfold.

Library - Dictionaries - OED
This interactive journey on how “OMG” made it into the OED explains all.

Online Etymology Dictionary – The internet’s go-to source for quick and reliable accounts of the origin and history of English words, phrases, and idioms.

Merriam-Webster Visual Dictionary Online – Explore the 15 major themes to access more than 6,000 images and see words like never before.