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The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology Hardcover – 26 May 1966

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1040 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 1st ed. edition (26 May 1966)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198611129
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198611127
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 5 x 16.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 170,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

ODEE is going to be, as it deserves to be, the standard etymological dictionary of the English language. (Times Literary Supplement)

This is a very fine etymological dictionary, as aromatic a piece of lexicography as the great Onions (who, sadly died while the work was going through the press) ever achieved Anyone who wants to take journeys back through the mazes of the fickle human mind cannot very well do without this volume. (Anthony Burgess, Observer)

About the Author

The lexicographical labours of the late Dr C.T. Onions began when he joined the staff of the Oxford English Dictionary in 1895. His astringent yet humane scholarship in this field was well known from his work as co-editor (with J. A. H. Murray, Henry Bradley, and W. A. Craigie) of the OED, and later of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. His life work was crowned with his new etymological dictionary, based on the OED but embodying further research on the etymology of English and of the other languages concerned.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Translatorerer on 13 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating book that I can get lost in for hours. If you enjoy learning about the origins of words, then you will enjoy the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology.

There are a few downsides to this book though. Firstly it was published in 1966 (46 years ago) and it badly needs updating. English has changed a great deal since 1966, and the lack of modern words and modern meanings is frustrating. I don't spend my time looking up rude words, but it is noticeable that there are no swear words in this dictionary.

There are frequent times when words are written in ancient Greek, which I imagine a more modern audience might struggle with.

There are too many abbreviations, which can make understanding some descriptions difficult. In some cases it isn't immediately clear whether words in the descriptions are translations of an ancient word or part of the author's explanation for the etymology.

It is extremely expensive for what it is.

If you realise that the dictionary has a few shortcomings, and money is no object for you, then I recommend buying it. It is probably the only book I own that I could never get bored of reading.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pancea on 11 April 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I first purchased this book and read it, I am definitely sure that this is the one I have been looking for.

However, by the time I have studied a lot from this book, I realized that It had contained a lot of abbreviations and something difficult to understand at the beginner's level.

Not only that, but It would seem that It was written a long time ago and did not update new words which has recently formed and defined.

Nevertheless, I think that It is still a good read to look up when you wonder the origin of words. On a personal note, I place this book besdie my bed.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By mari on 28 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover
It is an interesting book to understand English words. Probably, it is a summary of etymological part of the Oxford English Dictionary. For foreign English learners, the book is the source of imagination and understanding of English language. It is not so expensive and is worth buying. It will help you learn English.
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By Storm on 27 Jun. 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent
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