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170 of 177 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Next best thing to the 20 Volume Edition
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...
Published on 22 May 2008 by Leo

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary is more important than ever, but maybe It's time to rethink the presentation
There is now no reason why the full-sized Oxford English Dictionary should ever be printed again, the online edition being unmatchable in both its massively increased level of detail, and in offering so many new ways to study the history and use of words. But this just makes the printed version of the Shorter OED more important than ever, so that every decade or so there...
Published on 28 Jan. 2012 by Simon Esposito


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170 of 177 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Next best thing to the 20 Volume Edition, 22 May 2008
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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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those seriously interested in the English language, 21 Jun. 2012
By 
John M Ballard (Gedling, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shorter Oxford English Dictionary - Sixth Edition (set of 2 books) (Hardcover)
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful but you need the ODE too, 26 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: Shorter Oxford English Dictionary - Sixth Edition (set of 2 books) (Hardcover)
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.' Yet 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shorter Oxford dictionary is brilliant, 12 Nov. 2010
By 
C. R. Meats "Kate M" (Oxford UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shorter Oxford English Dictionary - Sixth Edition (set of 2 books) (Hardcover)
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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dictionary delight!, 23 Mar. 2011
By 
Mrs. L. Wisson "Lesley Wisson" (Carcassonne, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shorter Oxford English Dictionary - Sixth Edition (set of 2 books) (Hardcover)
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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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does the job, 4 Sept. 2009
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This review is from: Shorter Oxford English Dictionary - Sixth Edition (set of 2 books) (Hardcover)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars The new Shorter English Dictionary on CD Rom, 3 Jun. 2013
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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 fine.

Installation was a pleasant surprise. I have the full OED on cd and installing that can take quite a while. This was lightning fast. My operating system suggested that installation was faulty but on trying it out it worked fine.

I like the set up. It's easy to navigate around, very smooth. The entries, quotations etc. are clear.

As for the dictionary itself I have yet to make up my mind as I will need to work with it a little bit. In my opinion the OED is the best English dictionary for fulfilling the most important function of a dictionary - imparting an understanding of a word. This version of the Shorter Oxford Dictionary is less forbidding than the older versions which is all to the good. I expect and hope that this latest edition has not lost the clarity of explanation which is a hallmark of most Oxford dictionaries.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb reference work., 29 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Shorter Oxford English Dictionary - Sixth Edition (set of 2 books) (Hardcover)
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. Although, at two large, weighty volumes, it's strictly for "keeping on the shelf" - you can't carry it around with you!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary is more important than ever, but maybe It's time to rethink the presentation, 28 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Shorter Oxford English Dictionary - Sixth Edition (set of 2 books) (Hardcover)
There is now no reason why the full-sized Oxford English Dictionary should ever be printed again, the online edition being unmatchable in both its massively increased level of detail, and in offering so many new ways to study the history and use of words. But this just makes the printed version of the Shorter OED more important than ever, so that every decade or so there is put out a snapshot of all this material in a concise working form, but still deep enough to capture the richness of the full OED. I find that the OED Online (from my limited experience) is still best suited to special searches, and not as friendly as print for browsing - at least for the way in reality you can switch imperceptibly from one type of use to the other, from specific query to moving (semi-)randomly between entries and finding unexpected connections.

The Shorter OED is the fullest printed dictionary available (with a very deep coverage of obsolete and dialect words), and follows the same historical arrangement of senses as in the big version, with a fair sampling of the illustrative quotations. But it has the advantage of being restricted to MODERN English (including most of the words and senses in use in English since the sixteenth century, and all since 1700), leaving out the material now better covered by the new specialist dictionaries of Old and Middle English.

But it seems to me that the current presentation doesn't quite fit this new job as the premier printed dictionary: it now seems just a little too concise. Since the SOED can't possibly compete in practical use with the latest single-volume 'desk' dictionaries like the Collins English Dictionary or the Oxford Dictionary of English (they are better for immediate queries on usage, have remarkably deep coverage, and include encyclopedic entries), and since it is already split across two hefty volumes, maybe there would be nothing lost in adding a third volume - or even a fourth if a smaller (lighter!) format was adopted. The SOED's only purpose now is the more 'leisurely' or 'impractical' use, and for this the richness of the text needs to be improved with many more illustrative quotations and more expansive etymologies.

Even sticking to the current presentation, though, the ETYMOLOGIES are one thing that I feel SURE needs improvement, and which I find actually (just a little) irritating. They are given (as is traditionally done) inside square brackets, but this edition then adds the word 'ORIGIN' inside the first bracket - a 'belt and suspenders' approach that wastes a lot of space. As does the printing of language names unabbreviated. This perhaps makes the etymologies easier to read, but it's not as if abbreviations don't appear elsewhere in the dictionary entries, and even in the etymologies (like the equal sign '=' to mean 'cognate with'). For clarity in the etymologies it would be far more useful to open up the style of expression, which tends to be too concise, even cryptic - so that at times it can be difficult to extract information unambiguously (something which the expansive approach to language names just highlights, since the content itself is categorically NOT expansive). The greater use of abbreviations could even allow extra substantial matter to be included without taking up any more space - things like more variant historical spellings, more focus on shifts of meaning in addition to those of form, and willingness to describe the most likely speculations for difficult words (entries too often saying only 'origin unknown'). A pronunciation guide appears at the bottom of each page - why not print a table of abbreviations and symbols on the endpapers?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a delight to have bought - well worth the cost., 18 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Shorter Oxford English Dictionary - Sixth Edition (set of 2 books) (Hardcover)
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.
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Shorter Oxford English Dictionary - Sixth Edition (set of 2 books)
Shorter Oxford English Dictionary - Sixth Edition (set of 2 books) by Oxford Dictionaries (Hardcover - 20 Sept. 2007)
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