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The New Oxford American Dictionary Hardcover – May 19, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0195170771 ISBN-10: 0195170776 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 2096 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (May 19, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195170776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195170771
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 8.6 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,289 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #492,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Recently there has been publicity about young lexicographers and their work with major American dictionaries. Erin McKean, 34, is the editor of the second edition of The New Oxford American Dictionary (NOAD) and continues the tradition of publishing a well-researched and current source of U.S. English. The first edition, with different editors, was published in 2001. What has changed in four years?

Words, of course, have been added and deleted. There are more than 2,000 new entries. Google and weblog are now in, information superhighway is out. The type appears larger, and a line or two has been added to the brief country histories to bring them up to date. Another addition is the useful feature "The Right Word," which discusses synonyms. An example is the entry for attack, which, in addition to a half-column definition, has another half-column discussing the differences in meanings for the synonyms assault, besiege, charge, molest, and storm, among others. The first edition was criticized for not having a pronunciation key on every page, something the new edition remedies. The lists of U.S. presidents and states, tables of weights and measures, and most other features of the ready-reference section remain, but the lists of members of selected halls of fames have been dropped in favor of a "Language Guide," which includes commonly misspelled words and redundant expressions.

Definitions continue to be organized around the "core" meanings--that is, "the one that represents the most literal use that the word has in ordinary modern American usage." Similar to other current dictionaries, biographical, proper, and place-names are included--al Qaeda; Botox; 9/11; Rice, Condoleezza; Splenda; and Sunni Triangle are new additions to NOAD. Black-and-white photographs and line drawings are still interspersed in the text, with the entry for novelist Nadine Gordimer now having a photo. Julia Child's and Ronald Reagan's deaths in 2004 are noted.

NOAD is more current than its closest rival in size, the fourth edition of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2000). For any library that did not purchase the first edition of NOAD, or wants to keep its dictionary collection up to date, this is a buy. Christine Bulson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"It runs more than 2,000 pages and weighs upward of 800 pounds, so will need one forklift or three sumo wrestlers to hoist it, but you will love this gorilla once you get to know it."--James Kilpatrick, "Writers Life"

"Includes some unique and useful extras."--School Library Journal Curriculum Connections

"NOAD is an eminently usable dictionary with an attractive layout; clear, crisp illustrations; usage guidance; and synonyms with connotations. Sure to be everyone's favorite dictionary! Summing up: Essential."--Choice

"More current than its closest rival in size....This is a 'buy.'"--Booklist STARRED REVIEW

"Erudite, accessible....If you're looking for a desk dictionary that covers the spectrum of American English, with a fair quantity of encyclopaedic information thrown in, you could do a lot worse." --World Wide Words

"Ms. McKean had been dubbed "America's lexicographical sweetheart" by National Public Rasio's program "Talk of the Nation.""--The New York Times

Reviews for the previous edition: "The gold standard of American dictionaries."--The Providence Journal

"With its unique approach to language, this is easy to use and provides clear, well-written definitions. "--Library Journal.

"Oxford has always been so good at dictionaries, and lexicographical publishing needs a boost after Random House suddenly abandoned the field.... I'd give the New Oxford American Dictionary to a person looking for a quick answer."--William Safire, The New York Times.

"In both definitions and pronounciations the dictionary emphasizes American English.... This is a useful quick-reference type of dictionary."--Houston Chronicle

More About the Author

Erin McKean is the founder of Previously, she was the editor in chief for American Dictionaries at Oxford University Press, and the editor of the New Oxford American Dictionary, 2E.

Her books include Weird and Wonderful Words, More Weird and Wonderful Words, Totally Weird and Wonderful Words, and That's Amore (which is also a collection of words). The Secret Lives of Dresses is her first novel, and really, her first book where the words are arranged in something other than alphabetical order.

Erin lives in California south of San Francisco and spends her free time reading, sewing, blogging, roller-skating, and arguing about whether robots or zombies would win in a fight (lasers optional). She loves loud prints, quiet people, long books with happy endings, and McVitie's Milk Chocolate Hobnobs.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 2,289 customer reviews
This is a very thorough and easy to read dictionary.
It needs to have a spot where you can type in the word so that you don't have to flip through every page of the dictionary to find the word you're looking for.
Megan Wallinga
Well I really liked everything about this book/ dictionary really good for the children to read.
Tony Rivas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

128 of 131 people found the following review helpful By Seven Octaves on July 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The New Oxford American Dictionary (NOAD) is the best 1-volume English dictionary available. I will compare this dictionary to the American Heritage Dictionary (2006) as these two dictionaries are the best 1-volume English dictionaries available.

In my opinion, the NOAD is clearly a better dictionary for reasons listed below. Generally, the NOAD's entries are longer and more detailed, hence the reader gets more information. The American Heritage definitions are almost too concise (usually too concise for my preference) although many people may prefer the shorter definitions. Each dictionary will have a number of lesser know words (and even some more common words) the other dictionary will not have (especially scientific words, geographical locations, and newer words), so one dictionary is not superior as far as having a significant amount of more entries. It appears to me the NOAD has more entries, but even if it doesn't, it is still a better dictionary.

Some comparisons of American Heritage Dictionary (2006) to the NOAD (New Oxford American Dictionary)(2004)

-The NOAD is 1,959 pages A to Z, while The American Heritage 2,006 pages long A to Z. The American Heritage does not list anywhere that I can see how many entries it has. The NOAD says it has over 250,000 entries. The font of the American Heritage is smaller but it is just as easy to read as the NOAD's font. The NOAD uses 3 columns per page, the American Heritage uses 2.

-The American Heritage has some newer words not found in NOAD, such as Red state, Blue state, Sudoku, Texas hold'em, but don't get the idea though this makes it better than the NOAD.
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131 of 135 people found the following review helpful By M. Sternberg on May 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a review of the second edition of the dictionary. Naturally, it has been revised substantially by adding or updating entries and usage notes. This is well described by the publisher and other reviews.

A key new feature called "The Right Word" are valuable synonym study boxes discussing subtle differences in meaning, e.g., "definite" vs. "definitive".

The typography has been completely overhauled. The change is definitely for the better, although this may sound surprising given the richness and complexity in the first edition. Word functions, usage levels, examples, etc., are again set in distinct fonts, yet they harmonize here much better than before. I especially like the new italic face frequently seen in the numerous and illuminating examples. Phrases are explicitly set off from the main entry yet at equal weight. Etymologies and derivatives follow tightly at the very end but are still clearly recognizable.

The appendix has also received some attention and is now much more appropriate for a dictionary. The various "Hall of Fame" lists from the first edition have rightly been dropped in favor of informative and relevant language aids covering grammar, style, spelling, capitalization and punctuation. This part also includes several interesting lists of commonly mis-spelled words, clichés to avoid, and redundant expressions.

This is the best desk dictionary of contemporary American English.
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63 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Anna Twelve on April 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I knew I would like this new edition, but I didn't know how much! The Oxford American Dictionary is the best new dictionary of American English out there. It seems counterintuitive that OXFORD would make a great AMERICAN dictionary, but they really have more coverage than the other dictionaries I have (and I have a lot of dictionaries!).

The new edition has so much more material, including a really great new essay on etymology and new synonym studies.

I personally like the new page layout much better. The old one was very "dance-y" and distracting -- too much going on. This one is much simpler and flows better. I had no trouble finding the phrases (they begin with a dark triangle and the word PHRASES in bold type, so they're hard to miss!). The eytmologies start with an open triangle, but they always come near the end of the entry so I don't see how they're difficult to find, either. The font they use for the pronunciations is easier to read, as well, and they now have the key on every right-hand page.

And this new edition has a CD inside the book that lets you load the ENTIRE DICTIONARY on your smartphone or Blackberry or Treo!

If using a dictionary makes you cranky, you owe it to yourself to get this one and never feel cranky about looking something up again. It is the most usable, best-laid-out, most comprehensive dictionary I've seen yet.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By smcheril on February 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I chanced upon this dictionary at a book store. After giving it a quick lookover, it seemed to be pretty good. Like any good dictionary, it explains the meaning in great detail and provides sentences indicating meaning in context.

The area where this dictionary excels is in clarifying nuances in meaning between the word looked up and other related words. I was looking for a dictionary for my high school bound daughter and this was what made me decide to buy this dictionary.

As an example, in the entry for "clarify", the entry talks about the subtle differences between the words clarify, construe, elucidate, explain, explicate, and interpret. It must also be mentioned that it *does not* do this for *all* word entries -- only for some words.

As a bonus, the dictionary comes with a CD allowing you to install the dictionary on a PDA -- has versions for Palm and Windows mobile. I have loaded it into my Windows mobile Dell Axim x30 and it works well. The user interface is a little goofy but I got used to it soon. Keep in mind that you might need to have an external memory card to store the dictionary data.

Overall, I am very happy with the decision to buy this. Its a great value especially if you have a PDA.
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