Reading and recording

Initial note

The following pages in this section of EOED (dating from 2009-2010) report potential additions to OED evidence garnered from reading a variety of texts by female authors of the (long) eighteenth century over 2009, completed before OED3’s quarterly update of 10 December 2009 and checked against OED2 and OED3 up to that date. This page contains:

List of texts read

Jane Adam:

  • Miscellany Poems, 1734
  • ‘There’s Nae Luck About the House’ (variously spelt): see discussion of editions at Nae Luck

Penelope Aubin:

  • Two ‘Pindarique Odes’, Aubin 1707 and 1708
  • The Life of Madam de Beaumont, 1721
  • Chapter 1 of The History of Genghizcan the Great, 1722

Anna Seward:

  • Elegy on Captain Cook: To Which is Added, an Ode to the Sun (Seward 1780)
  • Llangollen Vale, With Other Poems (Seward 1796)
  • Letters (Constable 1811) vols 3 and 5

Jane Austen:

  • The Novels of Jane Austen, ed. R. W. Chapman (Oxford 1923-54), checked against The Complete Works and Letters of Jane Austen: electronic edition available at Intelex Past Masters ( [accessed 13 August 2018]; subscription required). NB includes vol. 6, i.e Austen’s juvenilia
  • Jane Austen’s Letters, ed. Deirdre Le Faye (Oxford 1995)

Reading and recording conventions

  • The tables on the pages in this section refer to the various editions of OED as OED1, OED2, or OED3 as appropriate, or to Burchfield’s 1972-86 Supplement or the Additions volumes. For explanation and description of these successive versions of the Dictionary, see Which edition records what. It is frequently the case that entries or information in OED2 are reproduced without change from OED1, and in these instances the term OED1/2 is used.
  • The texts listed above were read by Charlotte Brewer over 2009 (i.e. before OED3’s quarterly update of 10 December 2009) in an attempt to identify, by consultation of the editions of OED listed above, words and senses not recorded in OED or not recorded in the period in which the text was published, along with ante- and post-datings to the OED record.
  • Texts unavailable to the first OED readers and editors clearly could not have been taken into account in OED1 (worked on 1860-1928 and published 1884-1928). The same applies to the successive volumes of the main twentieth-century Supplement (worked on 1957-86 and published 1972-86), which subsumed the material in the first Supplement of 1933. For further discussion see EOED pages at Reading and readers.


As has been conclusively shown, e.g. by McConchie 1997: 155, 177-8, ‘sources already scrutinized [for OED], and even relatively thoroughly excerpted, may nevertheless be productive of much more material’, and ‘the fact of a book’s having already been read [for OED] is simply no guide to what useful data might still be found in it, unless it can be shown to have been exhaustively excerpted as in the case of Shakespeare’ (see further Issues and problems). Anyone who has read for the OED knows that readers continue to be fallible. The experienced and productive reader Peter Wexler described reading (for Burchfield’s Supplement) The Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney (Madame D’Arblay), ed. J. Hemlow and others (Oxford, 1972-84), ‘in shameful ignorance of J. N. Waddell’s “Additions to O.E.D. from the writings of Fanny Burney”‘, Notes & Queries (1980) 27-32. On checking his findings with Waddell’s after the event, he discovered that ‘only about 20% of the items were common to both lists. How could I possibly have failed to check the borrowings bavardage, cuisinière, opera buffa, pas seul, the derivatives diminisher, appeasable, the ordinary-looking follow-up, M.P.? How did he miss the derivatives correspondentially, curtainless, the ordinary-looking feel at home, brown paper parcel, two-bedded? In both cases, “etc.” – all too easily.’

The same applies to the reading undertaken for EOED. It is certain that the sources read for EOED are likely to yield more material on further examination, and that many noteworthy usages will have been missed.

Last updated on 26 October 2019