- Hardcover: 22000 pages
- Publisher: Clarendon Press; 2 edition (March 30, 1989)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0198611862
- ISBN-13: 978-0198611868
- Product Dimensions: 53.2 x 11.1 x 69.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 142.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 174 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,328,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Oxford English Dictionary (20 Volume Set) (Vols 1-20) 2nd 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...."
"No similar work, not even the great Lexicon of the brothers Grimm, is comparable to [the OED] in magnitude, accuracy, or completeness. It is one of the monuments to the patient persistence of scholarship and one of the most sterling illustrations of that strange piety which only scholars can understand."--The Nation
"The greatest work in dictionary making ever undertaken."--The New York Times
"No one who reads or writes seriously can be without the OED."--The Washington Post
"In all probability, the greatest continuing work of scholarship that this century has produced."--Newsweek
"It is a remarkable work of scholarship, and must rank high among the wonders of the world of learning."--The Times Educational Supplement
Top customer reviews
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.
I am still reading the rather elaborate introductory pages so that I can appreciate this awesome book better and also make the fullest possible use of it.
If you are an ambitious writer, a journalist, a voracious reader or simply a lover of English words, you just cannot do without this book!
The only complaint is that the shipping was delayed a little (though I had opted for the expedited option); it took about 15 days to receive the 20-volume set. (I had also asked for the 3-volume Additions Series which I received in exactly 3 days and in excellent condition too.)
But I must say that Amazon compensated me and also promptly responded to all my queries. Also the books were in such excellent condition. Here in India, even if I purchase new books from the biggest bookshops, I rarely receive books that are in such excellent condition. The books were also packed with meticulous care and still retained the fresh crisp smell of new pages and printing ink! What more can a bibliophile ask for?!
October 2010: a few weeks ago I noticed an issue with Vol 3 - pages 890 and 892 were blank. After some to-ing and fro-ing with Oxford University Press (OUP), I was sent a reprinted copy of Vol 3, this time with all pages printed! Customer support with OUP was fantastic. OUP did acknowledge there is an issue with Vol 3 in some of the printings, and that they intend replacing all faulty copies. So, check vol. 3!