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The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) database is available to HCC faculty, staff, and students through the Library’s subscription.

According to the OED database’s “About” page, it is “widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language.” As a historical dictionary, the OED provides “the history of individual words and of the language—traced through three million quotations, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books.” What’s more, in its most recent update the OED added 500 new words, phrases, and senses that have come into use. A few new entries included “garden burger,” “hate watch,” and “things aren’t what they used to be.”

The OED can be a dynamic teaching tool; faculty might consider requiring students to look up words or phrases to find out when they entered the English language, how their use has evolved over time, and their language or region of origin.

Struggling to find just the right word? Browse the subject trees in the Historical Thesaurus to pin down the specific term you should use, or choose the Thesaurus link in the top-right corner of every definition.

To use the OED, go to the Library’s website, click on “Research Resources,” then “Research Databases.” Search by the alphabetical listing (O) or select “Reference” from the subject list. From off-campus, log in with your library barcode number (printed on the back of your HCC ID card).

Try it now!

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