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REVIEW: The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the "Oxford English Dictionary".


The Oxford English Dictionary is a mammoth tome. A massive collection of English words and, if you buy the full set, an massive price tag to go with it.

Fortunately this is a much cheaper book which details the colourful history behind the Oxford English Dictionary. In all there are 260 pages of tightly written, academic text on a subject clearly dear to the author's heart. However, it dramatically loses out on the 'casual readability' front.

Reading this was a bit of a challenge as the language can be so turgid and unapproachable that you really don't take pleasure in reading it. This is a great shame as the information provided, when you dig deep and hold your temper and interest, is really good and interesting. I am convinced that it would have benefited from a closer pre-publishing read through. It's not as if this is an academic research book aimed at the select few, either!

CONCLUSION: The story of the OED's development is fascinating and engrossing. It is just a shame that the process to learn this information is so damn torturous.

Title: The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the "Oxford English Dictionary"Author: Simon WinchesterPublished by: Oxford University PressISBN: 0-19-860702-4Price: GBP12.99 Reviewer: Darren Ingram
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Publication:M2 Best Books
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 22, 2003
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