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The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (2 Vol. Set; Thumb Indexed Edition) Hardcover – October 14, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0198612711 ISBN-10: 0198612710

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 3840 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (October 14, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198612710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198612711
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #430,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA-How will logophiles settle disputes until the revised OED comes out in 2005? Why, they'll look to this new two-volume revision of the SOED, of course. It is a pleasure to use with its sturdy opaque pages, print large enough to read without a magnifying glass, and ample space between the entries. The editors have included 978,600 headworks with more than 500,000 meanings, covering virtually every word or phrase in use in English since 1700. Quotes (87,000 in all) from a vast array of writers, such as Thomas Jefferson, Joan Didion, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Eudora Welty, add context and nuance to the definitions, and illustrate the incredible flexibility of our mother tongue.
Marya Andreen, R.E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This exceptional reference work is the first complete rewriting of the 60-year-old Shorter Oxford English Dictionary . Rather than revise and update that popular dictionary, the editors instead used the second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (1989) as the basis for the text. A team of 16 lexicographers and numerous researchers and advisers led by Brown worked for more than ten years to revise, restructure, update, and abridge that most rich and comprehensive of all English-language dictionaries. The result is a superbly useful and afforable historical dictionary of modern English. It sets out the main meanings and development of words current between 1700 and the 1990s, including those in regular literary or colloquial use, slang and dialect words encountered in literature and the mass media, and scientific and technical terms in common use. Tracing every word back to its first known use, this wide-ranging dictionary contains 500,000 definitions and 87,400 illustrative quotations from such celebrated figures as Ben Franklin, Joan Didion, George Orwell, and Gertrude Stein. It is genuinely international in scope. Unique among abridged dictionaries is its consistent historical/literary approach in displaying the changing meanings of words. This work offers the huge scope and scholarship of its parent, the OED , without the difficulties of a 20-volume set or the nuisance of a magnifying glass and at an affordable price. Highly recommended.
- Paul D'Alessandro, Portland P.L., Me.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Incredible assortment of titles in MINT condition.
Margaret Adams
I would recommend this dictionary to everyone who speaks the English language.
A Williams
The thumb index tabs are very useful, and the books are bound beautifully.
Paul Bobbitt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 83 people found the following review helpful By A Williams on October 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I'm a mature student of linguistics and English with seven English dictionaries, including two copies of this works earlier edition, a smaller Oxford, a large Webster's and a facsimile edition of Jonson's original dictionary. This dictionary is the one that gets used the most.
For many years I swore by the earlier edition and this new one improves it with a newer selection of words and the thumb indexes for each letter making it a little quicker to find the word you need.
For a student of lexicography this dictionary is unmistakably an Oxford while moving towards a more modern world. While the pronunciation is the good old southern received from the original OED they have moved to the International Phonetic Alphabet from the one developed for the first OED. The layout and typeface for entries are still the same; easily read and well laid out. They keep the same marvelous information regarding derivation of a word but replace a definitive date for earliest use with a symbol that places it in the first second or final third of a century, probably more honest anyway. Like the earlier Shorter Oxford most entries also have usage examples for the word, many offer a usage for each sense of the headword.
While the word choice among the 100,000 or so headwords in these two volumes has some holes they are not large at all and mostly confined to more particular areas that border on jargon or industry specific terms. Like some other reviewers I can bemoan the absence of words in my particular topics of interest but there is no point, almost all people will never notice their absence.
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79 of 81 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 2, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The best of the large dictionaries. Although I'll concede that the NSOED does not live up to its dust jacket claim for including all words since 1700, it is far more comprehensive than any of its desk top competitors. By breaking it into two volumes, Oxford has made each book manageable and one doesn't need to lift weights to look up a word. The use of the OED's approach to etymology makes this dictionary superior to any in its price range, including, specifically, the Random House and the American Heritage. It dwarfs the Collegiate dictionaries (Webster's and the New World) for number of words included. Easy to read, easy to browse, endlesslly rewarding. Own this, the 2nd OED, and Webster's Unabridged and you've got everything you need.
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90 of 95 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
despite the odd complaints of the 'websters' fetishist who reviewed this book in 1997, this dictionary is second only to the full oed. it suffers in comparison to its sire only from necessary abbreviations due to size.
i have not been disappointed with it so far, and suspect that scholars, except perhaps of modern animal husbandry and american vernacular, will not be disapointed either. this is an ideal reference for graduate students, and others who have need of a serious text at a reasonable price.
and anyone who claims not to know that 'cilantro' is merely a recent american name for the native european herb 'coriander' (p.511) is not fit, in my humble opinion, to act as a referee for this excellent book!
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Paul Bobbitt on August 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The Oxford English Dictionary has always been the standard by which all other dictionaries have been judged. However, while the 20 volume set is quite thorough, to say the least, it isn't the sort of thing you'd want to keep on your desk at work. (Unless you're employed as an English professor.) This "Shorter" two volume set is an excellent and more compact version of the full dictionary. While it lacks many of the historical word usage references (try looking up "apprehend" in the 20 volume set and compare it to this one, and you'll see what I mean), it is more than adequate for almost anyone. The thumb index tabs are very useful, and the books are bound beautifully. Along with the Oxford Canadian Dictionary, Roget's Thesaurus, and Strunk and White's "Elements of Style", this dictionary is one of the core reference books I use on a daily basis. Certainly costlier than many dictionaries, but in this case you really do get what you pay for.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By John Reenan on October 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Much better than Webster's unabridged in both content and organization, and even type. Certainly, you would need both to have a complete library, because there are a lot of words that are not common to both, but this is the one to get if you can't have both.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By "javits2000" on May 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I have used the Shorter OED for nearly six years now, and I have never once been disappointed. It is comprehensive (I can't remember ever not finding something I needed, whether from a literary or a scholarly text, whether from this century or the middle ages). The definitions are clearly written. The supplemental information (derivation, usage, etc.) is easily deciphered. It's also just a joy to use, and, let's be honest, provides you with two very impressive-looking volumes to display on your shelves. I can't imagine ever needing another dictionary.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ryan M. Claycomb on August 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Unless you have the spare cash and storage space for the full 20 volumes, or the vision and patience for the magnification-enhanced compact edition, this is the dictionary for the serious wordsmith and bookworm. As usable as any Webster's, this dictionary bests competitors in terms of comprehensiveness and concision. The OED has gotten a rap as the last bastion of English Imperialism, but if the English Language is what's left of the British Empire, well then here's the law book.
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