This Day in History: Oxford Dictionary Debuts February 1, 1884 The first portion, or fascicle, of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is published.
The OED is considered the most comprehensive and accurate dictionary of the English language, providing a detailed chronological history for every word and phrase.
Plans for the dictionary were conceived by members of London’s Philological Society in 1857.
Estimated as a 10 year project, it took over 40 years until the 125th fascicle was published in 1928 and the full dictionary was complete.
Its 20 volumes weigh over 137 pounds, and would take one person 120 years to type all 59 million words.
Today, the dictionary’s second edition is available online to subscribers and is updated quarterly with over 1,000 new entries and revisions.