13 January 2011

Access the OED online - free - until February 5

I've previously blogged about my introduction to the OED.   The compact edition stays within reach of my desk, but the $300 subscription fee has always been a deterrant to using the online version.  Then yesterday I read a post at 22 words indicating that online access to the OED would be free until February 5.

I could NOT find a confirmation of the free trial at Oxford University Press' OED website, but I did encounter the same information at Wordorigins and Languagehat, the latter citing Ben Zimmer of the NYT.  All of them indicated that all one has to do is type "trynewoed" as the login and the password.

So that's what I did last night.  And it worked.  I didn't get any blogging done after that because I maintain a list on my computer that I call "Words," which has about 40 pages of 9-point text of interesting words, interesting etymologies, words I encounter while reading to look up later, etc.  Re the latter there were lots of blank spaces to fill in with definitions and etymologies, so last night I filled in the 60 blank spots under the letter "A", including -

abatis -  defense using felled trees c branches toward enemy (Fr abatis = mass of things thrown down)
acicular  - needle-shaped (L. acicula = small pin)
afflatus  -  breathing (L. ad + flare = blow), hissing; inspiration; a type of sudden erysipelas
afrit  -  an evil demon or monster of Muslim mythology.
aigrette  - egret; tuft of feathers/gems etc worn on head. Other tufts like dandelion or rays of light.
alegar   -  sour ale; vinegar from ale. ale + eager=Fr “sharp, sour”
alnico  - aluminum + nickel + cobalt and copper. Used for magnets.
ambeer  -  tobacco juice; saliva stained by tobacco; originally water stained with tobacco refuse.
anadromous  - fish that ascend a river to spawn (Gk ana = up + dromo = run)
apercu  - summary exposition; revealing glimpse; insight (Fr ppl of apercevoir = perceive)
aplomb  - poise; the vertical position (F. a plomb=according to the plummet; straight up and down)
apostrophe  - figure of speech by which speaker turns to address a person or thiing
ascesis  -  the practice of self-discipline (see ascetic) (Gk = exercise)
athanasy  - immortality. (L. a + thanatos)
avatar  - Hindu myth descent of deity to earth as incarnate form; manifestation (Sanskrit = descent)

... and so on, for hours last night.  I have to admit that using the OED online is much faster and more convenient than poring over the compact edition with a magnifying glass - especially because of the abundance of internal hyperlinks.  I'm not sure I can afford it yet, but it's certainly an outstanding resource.


  1. This is the best news ever, and my favorite thing I've read today.

  2. How awesome is this? My daughter made off with my best hard copy OED and I've got nothing but Websters all over the house.


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