What does the OED tell us about the English language?

Examining the OED (EOED) sets out to investigate the principles and practice behind the Oxford English Dictionary, an extraordinary achievement of scholarship and labour and the greatest dictionary of English ever compiled. The project is wholly independent of the OED itself. Its main aim is to explore and analyse OED’s quotations and quotation sources, so as to illuminate the foundations of this dictionary’s representation of the English language.

See About the project for more information, and EOED content or Site map for a conspectus of the material put up so far.

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Our Bibliography is constantly updated and provides the fullest existing survey of research on the OED (we think). Please Contact us if we have missed an important item.


The background to the project is explained in Treasure-House of the Language: The Living OED (Yale University Press, 2007), a history of the OED in the 20th century.

The current version of the EOED website, re-launched in 2019, contains new content as well as updated and re-organized material from the old website (2005-12). The new elements on the website – including information and charts on the progress of OED3, the first-ever revision of OED which has been underway in Oxford since 2000 – are outlined at EOED content. Links to the old site will take you to the new version of the EOED page or, if appropriate, to the archived version (which can be independently accessed via the link at the foot of each page of the new site).

Last updated on 4 August 2022