Friday, 7 October 2011

Original OED

The Oxford English Dictionary celebrated its centenary a while ago, and to commemorate it they published this limited edition print run of the first edition, from 1911.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary: The Classic First Edition

There's a nice blog post here about the differences between then and now, which as always make for a fun read. While it's quite nice to learn about the words that haven't made it this far (marconigram, kinematograph and so on), my favourite thing is the style of the older edition. It seems so quaint nowadays.

A terrier, for instance, is a
kind of active & hardy dog with digging propensity
And to greet is to
accost with salutation
And relatedly, the blog post notes that while the OED defined cancan simply as 'indecent dance', Percy Scholes, editor of the first Oxford Companion to Music (1938), wrote that
Its exact nature is unknown to anyone connected with this Companion.
Quite right too.

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