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Oxford English Dictionary (OED)


Countries to which the institution belongs

United Kingdom

Foundation Date


Type of institution

Research department

Parent body or organisation

(University / Non profit organisation)

Oxford University Press / Oxford University

Language with which the institution is concerned

The English language throughout the world

Description of objectives, tasks and primary activities of the institution

The OED is the dictionary of record for the English language. First published between 1884 and 1928, the dictionary is currently undergoing its first major revision and updating. The Second Edition (1989) is now available online by subscription, and the new Third Edition (2000-) is being published online in regular quarterly instalments. The OED maintains an international research programme which monitors English vocabulary and usage from the earliest times up to the present day. The work conducted by the department on the vocabulary and usage of English informs both the OED itself and the many other dictionaries in the Oxford family.

Traditionally the English language in the United Kingdom has developed without state guidance or control, and as a result there is no official language institute or academy within the UK charged with language planning and related matters (nor any perceived requirement that one should exist).

Responsible person

Chief Editor: John Simpson (

Number of staff


Periodicals and serial publications

Oxford English Dictionary (second edition, 1989; third edition in progress, 2000- online)

Related publications by Oxford University Press include: New Oxford Dictionary of English, Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, Concise Oxford English Dictionary; Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, Oxford English Grammar, Oxford Guide to Style, Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors, Oxford Dictionary of Spelling; the International Journal of Lexicography; and many other dictionary and language texts.

Address of the institution

Postal address:
Oxford English Dictionary
Great Clarendon Street
Oxford OX2 6DP
Visiting address: (as above)
Telephone number: +44 1865 353660
Fax number: +44 1865 353811

Languages in which the organisation is able to communicate actively


Languages in which the institution is able to receive communications

French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, etc.

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