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About OED Online

OED Online contains two separate texts, the complete Second Edition and the New Edition in progress.


The contents of OED Online

The online Oxford English Dictionary is a work in progress. Hundreds of new entries are added every year.

The OED is currently being revised, with the aim of producing a completely updated third edition. Draft material from the revision programme is published online, alongside unrevised entries from the 20-volume Second Edition, first published in 1989, and its 3-volume Additions Series, published in 1993 (volumes 1 and 2) and 1997 (volume 3). Many of the entries in the Additions volumes consist of sections which are additions to an entry previously published in the Second Edition; such sections are appended to the end of the appropriate Second Edition entry. Complete entries published for the first time in the Additions volumes are presented as free-standing entries, along with entries from the Second Edition.

More revised entries are added to the online Dictionary every quarter, replacing older versions from the Second Edition and Additions Series.

Occasionally, new material is presented for an entry that has not yet been fully revised. This can be in the form of a new meaning of an existing word, a new compound or phrase involving an existing word, and so on. In such cases, the new material appears appended to the foot of the entry, introduced by the text ‘Draft additions’ followed by the date on which the material was first published.

In the main Dictionary, entries feature a link to the Second Edition version for comparison.

More information on OED entries:

Guide to the Third Edition of the OED

More on OED Online:

Latest new entries

Viewing Second Edition, Additions, and New Edition entries

When you open an entry, information about its provenance is displayed in the panel to the right of the main entry display (e.g. Second edition, 1989; online version November 2010). Fuller details are also given at the end of the entry.

The OED Online contains entries from the Second Edition and its Additions volumes, and draft entries from the New (Third) Edition currently in progress. Every entry is labelled according to the text from which it has come.

Second edition, 1989; online version November 2010 The entry is from the Second Edition of 1989 (with emendations for online publication)
Additions series, 1993 The entry is from the Additions volumes of 1993
Additions series, 1997 The entry is from the Additions volume of 1997
Third edition, August 2010 The entry is a fully revised or newly drafted Third edition entry published online in August 2010

Revised and new entries may from time to time be emended. In such cases, the most recent version of an entry will be the version displayed online. Substantive editorial changes will result in a new text date, while non-substantive adjustments will not. Should an earlier, archived version of an entry be required for reference purposes, this can be supplied on request.

How do I view Additions to entries?

The Additions are displayed at the end of the entry, where the text is identified as ‘Additions series 1993-7’, ‘Draft Additions January 2002’, etc.

How do I view the Second Edition version of a revised entry?

Where a Second Edition version of an entry is available it can be viewed by clicking the "Previous version" link to the right of the main entry display.

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About OED Online