- Hardcover: 2424 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; Subsequent edition (December 5, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0198612583
- ISBN-13: 978-0198612582
- Product Dimensions: 18 x 11 x 3.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 165 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #470,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary, Complete Text Reproduced Micrographically (in slipcase with reading glass) (v. 1-20) Subsequent Edition
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Proper words in their proper places--and a good many improper ones, too! If the OED's many obsolete definitions tend to be the most enjoyable--shuff is dialect for "shy," dolt was once upon a time a verb as well, meaning "to befool"--everyday idiosyncrasies still abound. But, for instance, occupies nine columns of text, and who would wish a single line away? There's also the sublime pleasure of trawling through the sea of relevant quotations. The OED's initial team of "voluntary readers" was asked to cite as many phrases as possible for both archaic and ordinary terms. None seems to have found this remotely arduous, and we now reap the >ubiquitous ("present or appearing everywhere; omnipresent") rewards. This huge venture is a labor of lore, love, and good humor. One caveat: If you skip over the Historical Introduction, you'll miss learning about the Unregistered Words Committee, and overlook the wry warning, "If there is any truth in the old Greek maxim that a large book is a great evil, English dictionaries have been steadily growing worse ever since their inception...."
From the reviews of the Second Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary: `The gigantic total picture of the English language...an epic achievement.' Anthony Burgess, Observer
`The greatest dictionary in any language.' Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Daily Telegraph
`A stupendous achievement.' William Golding, Evening Standard
`The greatest reference book ever written.' Stephen Jay Gould, Nature
`A national treasure.' New Statesman and Society
`Has no real rival in any language.' Godfrey Smith, Sunday Times
`One of the wonders of the world...the thing's a triumph.' Richard Boston, Guardian
'This is the best.' Philip Howard, The Times
'one of the wonders of the modern world ... it is fun to plunge into this colossal book and be ambushed by some unknown word or variation at the turn of every page or, in the case of the Compact edition, of every nine pages. This is a book all literate people will want to give themselves for Christmas, if they cannot persuade anyone else to give it to them. And the OUP should be given the Nobel prize, or something better.' Illustrated London News
'virtually impossible to fault ... this is simply the finest dictionary around' Ian Shuttleworth, City Limits
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I also appreciate Amazon's decision to start shipping this by means of a special carrier; it weighs 140 pounds. There have been a number of reviews that suggested there has been a problem shipping this product complete or undamaged. However...
(Sigh...) Somebody on a forklift got little too close to the side of the box in which this set was shipped. As a result, Volumes 10, 12 and 18 have gashes though the dust jackets and the covers are gouged. (I'm about to find out just how good Amazon's ability to replace parts of a set is...)
Perhaps Amazon could recommend to their vendor that placing this set in a reinforced box or a crate would be a good idea. After all, this is such a unique item that it is going to become, in anyone's home, a family heirloom.
There is no reason to add to the superlatives others have used to describe this. I am including the measurements because I wanted them for preparing for its arrival, but the measurements given by Amazon are not very useful.
Each volume is 9 1/2 inches wide and 12 3/8 inches tall and 2 inches thick. Placed on a shelf together, ten volumes measure 22 1/4 inches wide. My glass door bookshelves from IKEA are 10 1/4 inches deep and my oak bookshelves from Fred Myers in Oregon are 10 3/4 inches deep.
In addition to the astounding content, the books are physically beautiful. One of the boxes was severely damaged, even half open, but the books did not have the tiniest blemish on them. The printing, the binding, everything about them is worthy of the content, that is, every word and every meaning and every worthwhile reference of the greatest language in the history of the world.
If you are looking for a working dictionary rather than a research tool, I would recommend the 2 volume shorter OED abridged. Some reviewers have indicated the online addition is a viable option and more readable. I researched and it seemed the annual online subscription is more than this addition costs. So I took the leap and I am not disappointed. (except for the defective magnifier -- a book this expensive shouldn't have quality control problems)