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Shorter Oxford English Dictionary - Deluxe Edition (incl. CD) [Hardcover]

Oxford Dictionaries
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
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Book Description

20 Sep 2007
From the beginning, the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary was intended to be an abridgement of the full Oxford English Dictionary. The first editor, William Little, was appointed in 1902. He worked on it until his death in 1922, after which the dictionary was completed by H. W. Fowler, Jessie Coulson, and C. T. Onions. The First Edition was published in 1933, in two volumes.

The Second Edition, published in 1936, contained about 3,000 revisions and additions. The Third Edition (1944) contained an appendix of addenda and corrigenda, and this edition was reprinted several times with corrections and additions, the most significant being in 1973, with enlarged addenda (now running to over 70 pages) and a major revision of all the etymologies.

The New Shorter was prepared under the editorship of Lesley Brown 1980-1993. It was the first complete revision of the dictionary, being in fact not so much an overhaul of the existing text as a reabridgement of the OED and its Supplements. The Fifth Edition was published in 2002, and reverted to the name Shorter Oxford English Dictionary to emphasize the link between this 2-volume dictionary and the original 20-volume OED.

The Sixth Edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary provides a complete update of this unique reference work. Based on the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary, the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary contains an incredible one-third of the coverage of the Oxford English Dictionary, is just one-tenth of the size, and includes all words in current English from 1700 to the present day, plus the vocabulary of Shakespeare, the Bible and other major works in English from before 1700.

The new edition, with a new introductory essay by language expert David Crystal on the History of English, includes 2,500 new words and senses, plus thousands of antedatings of existing words, drawing on the huge ongoing research project for the Oxford English Dictionary and the wealth of information on language in use provided by the Oxford English Corpus. In addition, the work includes many new quotations from recent authors, a refreshed design, and a complete review of spelling forms and defining vocabulary, making it the most authoritative reference work available for both modern and historical English.

This Deluxe Edition also contains a CD-ROM. The brand-new software features the full text of the dictionary and is designed to run on both Windows and Apple Macintosh computers. With an elegant interface providing quick and intuitive searching, it also has advanced searching facilities for in-depth exploration, allowing searching of the definitions, eytmologies, subject, geographical region of use, register, and source language, as well as the ability to limit searches by the date of a word's first recorded usage. There is also an automatic look-up facility; by double-clicking on a word in a document or web page the user can view the entry for that word. Sound recordings enable you to listen to standard British pronunciations for over 100,000 words. In addition, the CD-ROM features a crossword puzzle solver and anagram solver.

The new edition of the CD-ROM is designed to benefit all users. It can be controlled solely from the keyboard for the convenience of users who prefer not to use a mouse, and offers a simple and attractive interface which is fully customizable, making it easy to change the text size, fonts, and the color of both text and background.

For scholars and everyone with a serious interest in the English language, the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary is an unrivalled resource, providing a unique description of the historical development of the language together with excellent coverage of current English. The Sixth Edition showcases the best of the traditional strengths of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, while bringing it up to date in its scholarship and research, in the design and layout, and in its treatment of the changing face of English.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 3804 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 6 edition (20 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199206880
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199206889
  • Product Dimensions: 29.4 x 23.8 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 636,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The Shorter demands a shelf, but one very close to the desk of anyone who cares about words. (Daily Telegraph)

The Shorter is the Matterhorn to the great OED's Everest - elegant, awesome and marvelous to behold, differing only in size. A stupendous achievement. (Simon Winchester, author of The Professor and the Madman)

It may be difficult to carry, but not to read (Erich Segal, Times Literary Supplement)

It must be difficult trying to come up with a bright marketing technique to sell the fifth edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary ...but the OUP seems to have managed it. On the box housing the two volumes of this mighty enterprise is a picture of a white-bearded gentleman in a cloak who, at first blush, appears to be J. K. Rowling's Albus Dumbledore. However, it is Sir James Murray (1837-1915), the first Editor of the real, 21-volume Oxford English Dictionary, of which the Shorter is an honest abridgement. More than half a million definitions are presented in clear type, set big enough for all but the most long-sighted. (Chris Campling, Times)

. . . truly a dictionary of global English. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Even at a fraction of its original bulk, the premier collection of English words manages to squeeze in over a third of the original's content, including its hallmark: minute etymological details. (US News & World Reports)

The Shorter is a mine of information (Toronto Star)

. . . astonishingly good value . . . the new SOED is all that one would expect of it. (Keith Waterhouse, Daily Mail)

It is a dictionary with zest . . . a rare treasure. (Frank Devine, The Australian)

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary redefines hip. (The New York Post)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
166 of 173 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Next best thing to the 20 Volume Edition 22 May 2008
By Leo
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you cannot afford the £750 for the 20 Volume edition of The Oxford English Dictionary, or if you do not have the shelf space to put them upon, then this is the edition to get. The two great volumes contain nearly four thousand pages, more than half a million definitions, and eighty-five thousand quotations illustrating the meanings and context of many words. What more could you ask for?
Whenever I come across a new word or one I am not sure of the definition, I turn to my copy of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary and find a lot more information than I expected. It is the kind of book that you think you only put on a shelf and refer to it "once in a blue moon", but when you discover all sorts of interesting words and etymologies of common words you want to look further. It is my number one reference book.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dictionary delight! 23 Mar 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was an English teacher for over thirty years and had never owned a decent dictionary. I watched Countdown for years and wished I had a decent dictionary - now I have got one, or two depending how you interpret the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. Well worth the wait and we intend to leave it to our grand-daughter when we go so she won't have such a wait for a really decent dictionary!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shorter Oxford dictionary is brilliant 12 Nov 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
We are a crosssword loving family and these two volumes have already been well worth the money. Apart from being purely practical they are a never-ending source of interest about words and their origins. The entries are set out in a clear and easy to read fashion and the books themsleves are a delight to read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful but you need the ODE too 26 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful dictionary but it isn't entirely the dictionary the publicity material says it is. The jacket claims, 'this edition combines the world's best dictionary of contemporary English with a comprehensive account of the historical development of the language.' The book description above says it is 'the most authoritative reference work available for both modern and historical English.'

Yet when I queried the thinness of some accounts of current usage with the editor, he replied that the Oxford Dictionary of English 'gives a fuller treatment [than the SOED] to everyday words, with more detail, shades of meaning, examples, and grammatical specification.' But the SOED's publicity maintains it is the best, most authoritative dictionary of current as well as historical English. OUP publicists aren't as scrupulous as their lexicographers. You really need both the SOED and the ODE - but they are still worth every penny.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The daddy of them all as dictionaries go is the Oxford English dictionary, which runs to 20 volumes. Not many homes will have this ! But if you are serious about the English language, and interested in its origins and develoment then probably the next best dictionary is the shorter Oxford English dictionary (SOED), which is in two volumes, and runs to about 4000 pages in all. It has been around since the 30s, and has been regularly updated every 10-15 years or so. The latest update was in 2007.
I was in East Anglia recently and came across several place names with 'staithe' in their title - this was a new word for me. On returning home I looked the word up in my excellent Chambers - the genesis and decription of the word - a wharf, landing stage for boats - ran to 3 lines. In the Shorter there was more detail and the entry was 12 lines long.
The Shorter is also available on CD, and somewhat cheaper than its paper counterpart. It also has extra features such as search functions, plus a crossword solver.
Despite this I am more than happy with my paper set - for a start the two volumes look rather more impressive than a CD !
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does the job 4 Sep 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is without a doubt the most useful dictionary I have ever bought. It's not oversized as it comes in two standard dictionary-sized volumes and fits neatly on the shelf. I am happy that it contains extended definitions plus contextual passages to back the words up. The sheer number of words contained in the dictionary makes it one of the most comprehensive dictionaries available.

I have noticed that many people have given this product negative reviews due to the CD contained, however I find the CD to be an irrelevance to the dictionary as a whole and give it five stars in spite of the discontent expressed by some of the customers. For anyone who is familiar with the dictionary game, this is perfect as it contains a vast plethora of words which I never knew existed!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent value for knowledge 20 Sep 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This dictionary was bought for my wife's birthday. She is delighted and we have already spent time pondering some of the additional info. contained within such as word origins etc.

I would say the 2 volumes are a bargain for the current £53, and still reasonable value at the list price, considering the wealth of info within.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once upon a time 15 Feb 2014
By Io
Once upon a time I felt myself in need of a thorough English dictionary. I found the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary and, although I had heard its praises sung, I was still amazed. I really believe it lives up to the description, a tenth of the volume, a third of the vocabulary. It is wonderful how much information has been made to fit the constrictions of volume. Historical linguistics is one of my hobbies, and if I want an etymology, I find it there. I am not a native speaker of English, but the etymologies are interesting, no matter what, and I have never come across an English word I didn't know, and not found it there.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A real pleasure and a must for every child - especially those who are children at heart.
Published 4 days ago by Quentin Stephens
3.0 out of 5 stars Watch out!
I thought I was going to receive the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary - Sixth edition. I only received the volume 2 which makes a very bad deal for a secondhand product as the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by VanessaRose
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a delight to have bought - well worth the cost.
This pair of volumes were bought as a present and get used all the time by the owner, solving many a dispute in Scrabble etc.
Published 9 months ago by paw1944
4.0 out of 5 stars Good to have.
So pleased to have two volumes that take no shelf space. This is what computer technology was meant for.
Also really pleased with 'live' pronunciation. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Sonia
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible Dictionary
I was not expecting such a wonderful dictionary so elaborate in its meanings and definitions. I would certainly recommend it.
Published 10 months ago by Gorg Sciberras
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb reference work.
You can't really get a better dictionary than this. Excellent quality, and with first-class presentation of information it really is a useful item for home or office. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Hrodebert
5.0 out of 5 stars The new Shorter English Dictionary on CD Rom
First of all I was not sure if the dictionary would run with Windows 7. Windows 7 was not included with the operating systems quoted on the back of the cd cover but it works... Read more
Published 15 months ago by gregblag
1.0 out of 5 stars Total waste of money
No problem with Amazon's delivery. The problem was to install in on my Apple MiniMac.(recent 2013 version) No way could I install it. The CD-rom was date stamped 2007!! Read more
Published 15 months ago by cobelpete
5.0 out of 5 stars Shorter Oxford
This is a replacement for the 1993 edition hoping this edition will be as hardwearing as it has been. Ordered on 19-12-12 arrived 24-12-12
Published 21 months ago by Lw Tindale
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Dictionary
2 months ago, a friend of my grandmother showed me a two volumes dictionary of Oxford label. I opened and read the book and instantly it amazed me so. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Boy Lumoindong
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