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A History of the «Concise Oxford Dictionary»


Malgorzata Kaminska

This book shows the evolution of the Concise Oxford Dictionary, a famous and innovative dictionary for native speakers of English. It traces changes in the dictionary from 1911 to recent times. By comparing samples from each edition, the author provides insights into the revisions of the dictionary. The analysis sheds light on the editors’ policy on various aspects of the dictionary’s structure, including definition style, vocabulary selection and sense discrimination. The study shows how the editors abandoned the telegraphic style of definitions and adapted them to the needs of the target users. As the dictionary evolved towards greater user-friendliness, it also aimed at broader vocabulary coverage.
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13. Usage Labels


This chapter is concerned with the analysis of the changes in the system of labels, as found in sample B. The labels were analysed in terms of their number, form and the way of their presentation. The study attempts to determine some possible reasons for the changes in the system of labels. All the labels were classified in Table 5 and Graph 3, at the end of this chapter.


Labels were provided in brackets, usually in an abbreviated form, for example, ‘Sc(ottish)’, ‘north(ern)’, ‘poet(ical)’. In terms of typography, they were not distinguished from the rest of the text, which could make them rather difficult to locate for the user.

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