Editor Reflects On His Time At The Oxford English Dictionary In 'The Word Detective'

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The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is revered by logophiles, or word lovers. The second edition, completed in 1989, is 20 volumes, over 20,000 pages, with entries for nearly 300,000 words.

The dictionary is continuously updated, with three "addition series" in 1993 and 1997. In just the last quarter of 2016, nearly 500 words, sub-entries and senses were added to the OED.

It's overwhelming to think about editing the huge dictionary, but John Simpson knows it well. He has spent the entire 37 years of his career at the OED, 20 of those as its chief editor.

Simpson retired in 2013 and has since written a memoir. It's called "The Word Detective: Searching for the Meaning of It All at the Oxford English Dictionary."


John Simpson

This segment aired on December 23, 2016.



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