Dictionaries and thesauri (English)

  • Oxford English Dictionary, online from OUP
    2nd edn (1989) + increasing numbers of updated 3rd edn entries added at 3-monthly intervals. The OED now incorporates integrated access to the Historical Thesaurus of the OED. It is available from on-campus computers without a password. You can also use the URL http://oed.com for off-campus use, though without the VPN you will need your username and password to Sign in | Login with Shibboleth.
  • The Dictionary of Old English (Toronto)
    The first eight fascicles (A-G) are available on microfiche in the Library. (Yes, eight. Remember Æ.) They are also available on CD-ROM.
  • The Thesaurus of Old English (Glasgow)
    Available directly from the link above. Rearranges the OE material from OED under conceptual headings. The printed version (Kay & Grundy 1995) is available in the Library. The complete Historical Thesaurus of the OED was published in book form in 2009 and is now available as part of the online OED.
  • Lexicons of Early Modern English (LEME) (Toronto)
    From the announcement on LINGUIST: “Lexicons of Early Modern English (LEME), published by Toronto University Press and edited by Ian Lancashire, is a historical database of monolingual, bilingual, and polyglot dictionaries, lexical encyclopaedias, hard-word glossaries, spelling lists, and lexically-valuable treatises surviving in print or manuscript from the Tudor, Stuart, Caroline, Commonwealth, and Restoration periods. Texts of word-entries whose headword (source) or explanation (target) language is English tell us what speakers of English thought about their tongue in the period served by the Short-title and Wing catalogues, from the advent of printing to about 1700. Their lexical insights, which may at times seem misguided to us, shaped the history of our living tongue. Any contemporary’s testimony about the meaning of their own words has an undeniable authority.” The link is to the public version of the resource.
  • Germanic Lexicon Project (Penn)
    A project to scan and make available online a number of classic philological dictionaries.
  • SPEED (Spoken English in Early Dialects)
    An online version of Joseph Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary (1898 – 1905). ‘The initial stage of our project, which has largely been completed, has been dedicated to the technical challenges of digitising Wright’s EDD. [… A] highly advanced electronic database […] can be searched for any information the dictionary includes, of course also allowing the combination of various search parameters.’ See EDD Online for its latest incarnation.
  • Dictionary of the Scots Language
    “The Dictionary of the Scots Language (DSL) comprises electronic editions of the two major historical dictionaries of the Scots language: the 12-volume Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOST) and the 10-volume Scottish National Dictionary (SND). DOST contains information about Scots words in use from the twelfth to the end of the seventeenth centuries (Older Scots); and SND contains information about Scots words in use from 1700 to the 1970s (modern Scots).”
  • WordNet: a lexical database for the English language (Princeton)
    “WordNet® is a large lexical database of English, developed under the direction of George A. Miller. Nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are grouped into sets of cognitive synonyms (synsets), each expressing a distinct concept. Synsets are interlinked by means of conceptual-semantic and lexical relations. The resulting network of meaningfully related words and concepts can be navigated with the browser. WordNet is also freely and publicly available for download. WordNet’s structure makes it a useful tool for computational linguistics and natural language processing.”
  • wordnik
    “An ongoing project devoted to discovering all the words and everything about them.”


This page last updated 10th January 2017.

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