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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, 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 version of the Sixth Edtion 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 supports screen reader software and can be controlled solely from the keyboard for the convenience of users who prefer not to use a mouse. It 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, 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.