Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Price: $220.00

Hardback 3804 pp.
216 mm x 279 mm



Publication date:
October 2007

Imprint: OUP UK

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Shorter Oxford English Dictionary Deluxe Edition

Sixth Edition


From the beginning, the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary was intended to be an abridgement of the full Oxford English Dictionary. The first editor, William Little, was appointed in 1902. He worked on it until his death in 1922, after which the dictionary was completed by H. W. Fowler, Jessie Coulson, and C. T. Onions. The First Edition was published in 1933, in two volumes.

The Second Edition, published in 1936, contained about 3,000 revisions and additions. The Third Edition (1944) contained an appendix of addenda and corrigenda, and this edition was reprinted several times with corrections and additions, the most significant being in 1973, with enlarged addenda (now running to over 70 pages) and a major revision of all the etymologies.

The New Shorter was prepared under the editorship of Lesley Brown 1980-1993. It was the first complete revision of the dictionary, being in fact not so much an overhaul of the existing text as a reabridgement of the OED and its Supplements. The Fifth Edition was published in 2002, and reverted to the name Shorter Oxford English Dictionary to emphasize the link between this 2-volume dictionary and the original 20-volume OED.

The Sixth Edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary provides a complete update of this unique reference work. Based on the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary, the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary contains an incredible one-third of the coverage of the Oxford English Dictionary, is just one-tenth of the size, and includes all words in current English from 1700 to the present day, plus the vocabulary of Shakespeare, the Bible and other major works in English from before 1700.

The new edition, with a new introductory essay by language expert David Crystal on the History of English, includes 2,500 new words and senses, plus thousands of antedatings of existing words, drawing on the huge ongoing research project for the Oxford English Dictionary and the wealth of information on language in use provided by the Oxford English Corpus. In addition, the work includes many new quotations from recent authors, a refreshed design, and a complete review of spelling forms and defining vocabulary, making it the most authoritative reference work available for both modern and historical English.

This Deluxe Edition also contains a CD-ROM. The brand-new software features the full text of the dictionary and is designed to run on both Windows and Apple Macintosh computers. With an elegant interface providing quick and intutitive searching, it also has advanced searching facilities for in-depth exploration, allowing searching of the definitions, eytmologies, subject, geographical region of use, register, and source language, as well as the ability to limit searches by the date of a word's first recorded usage. There is also an automatic look-up facility; by double-clicking on a word in a document or web page the user can view the entry for that word. Sound recordings enable you to listen to standard British pronunciations for over 100,000 words. In addition, the CD-ROM features a crossword puzzle solver and anagram solver.

The new edition of the CD-ROM is designed to benefit all users. It can be controlled solely from the keyboard for the convenience of users who prefer not to use a mouse, and offers a simple and attractive interface which is fully customizable, making it easy to change the text size, fonts, and the color of both text and background.

For scholars and everyone with a serious interest in the English language, the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary is an unrivalled resource, providing a unique description of the historical development of the language together with excellent coverage of current English. The Sixth Edition showcases the best of the traditional strengths of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, while bringing it up to date in its scholarship and research, in the design and layout, and in its treatment of the changing face of English.

Readership : Scholars, researchers, and anyone with a serious interest in, and love for, the English language. With new coverage of global English, as well as slang, dialect, technical, historical, and literary terms, and rare and obsolete words, the Sixth Edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary allows the general reader access to an unparalleled level of scholarship, as well as being an essential tool for academics and researchers.


  • `Review from previous edition The Shorter demands a shelf, but one very close to the desk of anyone who cares about words.
    Daily Telegraph
  • `The Shorter is the Matterhorn to the great OED's Everest - elegant, awesome and marvelous to behold, differing only in size. A stupendous achievement.
    Simon Winchester, author of The Professor and the Madman
  • `It may be difficult to carry, but not to read
    Erich Segal, Times Literary Supplement
  • `It must be difficult trying to come up with a bright marketing technique to sell the fifth edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary ...but the OUP seems to have managed it. On the box housing the two volumes of this mighty enterprise is a picture of a white-bearded gentleman in a cloak who, at first blush, appears to be J. K. Rowling's Albus Dumbledore. However, it is Sir James Murray (1837-1915), the first Editor of the real, 21-volume Oxford English Dictionary, of which the Shorter is an honest abridgement. More than half a million definitions are presented in clear type, set big enough for all but the most long-sighted.
    Chris Campling, Times
  • `. . . truly a dictionary of global English.
    Sydney Morning Herald
  • `Even at a fraction of its original bulk, the premier collection of English words manages to squeeze in over a third of the original's content, including its hallmark: minute etymological details.
    US News & World Reports
  • `The Shorter is a mine of information'
    Toronto Star
  • `. . . astonishingly good value . . . the new SOED is all that one would expect of it.
    Keith Waterhouse, Daily Mail
  • `It is a dictionary with zest . . . a rare treasure.
    Frank Devine, The Australian
  • `The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary redefines hip.
    The New York Post

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Special Features

  • Contains more than 600,000 words, phrases, and definitions, with coverage of language from the entire English-speaking world, from North America and the UK to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and the Caribbean
  • Fully updated with 2,500 new words and meanings based on the ongoing research programme of Oxford Dictionaries and the Oxford English Corpus
  • Contains all the vocabulary current in general English from 1700 to the present day, with senses organized chronologically, as well as earlier major literary works, including Shakespeare, Milton's poetry, the Authorized Version of the Bible, and Spenser's Faerie Queene
  • Excellent coverage of all types of English encompassing slang, dialect words, technical, historical, and literary terms, and rare and obsolete words
  • A never-before-published, introductory essay by eminent language commentator David Crystal on the History of English provides a stimulating and highly readable account of the development of the English language
  • Refreshed design and layout highlights the links between meanings and quotations for ease of use and aesthetic appeal
  • CD-ROM included, featuring a fully customizable interface, fast and intuitive quick search plus powerful advanced search capabilities, crossword and anagram solver, and automatic look-up from other applications
  • CD-ROM runs on both Windows and Apple Macintosh operating systems and is compatible with Vista; it can also be controlled solely from the keyboard
  • Supported operated systems: Microsoft® Windows® Vista, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Mac OS X 10.4.x or later (PowerPC or Intel). Requires Intel® Pentium® II 450MHz or faster processor or equivalent (Windows), or PowerPC® G3 500MHz, Intel Core Duo 1.83GHz, or faster processor (Mac), and 128MB of RAM