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Concise Oxford Dictionary

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Title: Concise Oxford Dictionary  
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Concise Oxford Dictionary

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary (officially titled The Concise Oxford Dictionary until 2002, and widely abbreviated COD) is probably the best-known of the 'smaller' Oxford dictionaries. The latest edition of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary contains over 240,000 entries and 1,728 pages (concise only compared to the OED at over 21,000 pages). Its twelfth edition, published in 2011, is used by the United Nations as the current authority for spellings in documents written in the English language for international use.[1] It is available as an electronic eBook for a variety of handheld device platforms. In addition to providing information for general use, it documents local variations such as U.S. and U.K. usage.

It was started as a derivative of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), although section S–Z had to be written before the Oxford English Dictionary reached that stage. However, the eleventh edition was based on the Oxford Dictionary of English (also known as the NODE) rather than the OED. The most recent edition is the 12th edition, published in 2011.

Until 2000, it was the dictionary used on the game show Countdown.


  • First Edition (1911): The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English, adapted by H. W. Fowler and F. G. Fowler ... from the Oxford Dictionary. (They wrote the last section S–Z before the Oxford English Dictionary had reached that stage.)
  • Second Edition (1929): The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English H. W. Fowler alone (his brother had died in 1918, although his name is still on the title page).
  • Third Edition: (1934) was revised by H. W. Fowler and H. G. Le Mesurier.
  • Fourth (1951) and Fifth (1964) Editions were revised by E. McIntosh, who introduced the space-saving swung dash that stands for the headword. The title page still read The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English; but the description read 'edited by H. W. Fowler and F. G. Fowler; based on the Oxford dictionary'.
  • Sixth (1976) and Seventh (1982) Editions were still called The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English, but the subtitle now read based on the Oxford English dictionary and its supplements first edited by H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler. It was (thoroughly) edited by J.B. Sykes, catching up with the developments in the parent dictionary. In the Seventh Edition, symbols were introduced to mark uses considered controversial or offensive.
  • Eighth Edition (1990): The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English, first edited by H. W. Fowler and F. G. Fowler was edited by Robert E. Allen. Being computer-based, this edition changed the original structure to a large extent.
  • Ninth Edition (1995) was edited by Della Thompson.
  • Tenth Edition (1999, revised 2001) became The Concise Oxford English Dictionary. It was edited by Judy Pearsall. Rather than being a direct revision of the ninth edition, it was based on the larger New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998), which Pearsall had edited. Its compilation had involved a re-analysis of much of the core vocabulary using the British National Corpus. The tenth edition was also issued as an electronic resource, as a computer optical disc.
This edition was to be the last Concise Oxford Dictionary to be used on Countdown, as contestant Helen Wrigglesworth[2] declared ROADSIDE[3] and it was declared illegal. After further inspection from Mark Nyman, the dictionary was found to not have any compound words in it,[4] and was thus abandoned and the show reverted to the 9th edition.[5] The show switched to New Oxford Dictionary of English in series 43.
  • Eleventh Edition (2004, revised 2006, 2008 and 2009), the Concise Oxford English Dictionary was edited by Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson. It was based on the Oxford Dictionary of English (second edition (2003), which Soanes and Stevenson had edited). The Eleventh Edition is available on CD-ROM as an electronic e-Book for a variety of platforms.
  • Twelfth Edition (2011), the Concise Oxford English Dictionary was edited by Angus Stevenson and Maurice Waite. This edition included 400 new entries, including sexting, cyberbullying, gastric band, jeggings, retweet, and woot.[6]

2011 Revised 12th Edition

See also


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