The Oxford English Dictionary Online Has a New Interface

OED Timeline

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Online has a new interface. The design has changed, and they’ve added new content. Searching has become easier in a lot of ways. You can filter according to different categories, allowing you to start your search very broad and then narrow down. When you look at the entry for a specific word, you can hover over the source for a particular quote and see if it's possible to find where the quotation came from and potentially find more information about the author.

They also include links to other resources within an entry. For example if you click on Sources, the second result will be Shakespeare. If you click on that entry, not only will see you all the words he is quoted as a source for, but you'll see a link to his biographical entry in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. They have an an ‘Aspects of English’ section, which is a series of descriptive articles on language, past and present. They have integrated the Historical Thesaurus into it as well.

Probably my favorite change is is the addition of timelines and other new ways to visualize the history of words. When I clicked on Timelines, I compared the number of words that entered the language in 1640-1649 (5127 words) versus 1650-1659 (7529 words) (if I had the time, I'd love to explore why so many more words entered the language in 1650-1659). While looking at the Timeline, I then clicked on the 1650-1659 decade range to see all the words that were listed. I learned that the word aboriginal appeared in 1650. You can also select categories in the Timelines for Subject, Region, or Origins. It's a really fun tool to play with!

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