Did you know that the first part of the Oxford English Dictionary was published in 1884? This volume contained the words ‘A’ through ‘Ant’. The 125th and last part was not published until 1928. The first complete version contained more than 400,000 words! The full Oxford English Dictionary is a historical dictionary. In addition to showing how words are currently used, it shows the history of how words were used in the past. The Dictionary is updated frequently to keep up with a constantly changing language.
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The work to create this dictionary started in 1857. It was organized by the Philological Society, a group of scholars who studied language.
The building the original editors worked in was called the “Scriptorium”. It was where they stored their ‘quotation slips’. The editors sent out requests to bookstores, newspapers, and libraries requesting readers to send in quotations showing how ordinary words and rare words were used. By 1880 the Scriptorium had received 2,500,000 slips.