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Publisher's Summary

The creation of the Oxford English Dictionary was a remarkable achievement, and a story of determination, hard work and inspired research. Simon Winchester, with his characteristic gift for bringing history to life, charts the fascinating life of the OED leading up to the appointment of the first editor, James Murray, in 1879, through to the OED's triumphant publication in 1928 and beyond.

The Meaning of Everything is a must for anyone with an interest in language and words.

©2003 Simon Winchester (P)2004 W F Howes Ltd

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  • Overall
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  • Alan Coady
  • 05-06-15

Biography of a dictionary

Of those not already fascinated by philology and lexicography, few could believe how intriguing this story is: a tale of determined and often difficult and eccentric people. Winchester's account of this massive linguistic achievement is a work of fine scholarship but written with a lovely light touch which sparkles in his own narration.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • 04-06-12

Fascinating, engagingly-narrated story of OED

Sometimes—well quite often actually—when the author also narrates, it's a bit disappointing. No so here. Simon Winchester's delivery of his own work is magisterial. Which matches the story of the Oxford English Dictionary perfectly.

A great audiobook, I've listened to it over and over.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Alison Diskin
  • 01-14-18

Started strong, waned at end

Started with fascinating story telling but started to get repetitive towards end. Ideally could’ve finished 2 hourssooner

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  • Alex
  • 09-12-16

A wonderous history of our language

Anyone with an interest in language and its development will love this book. The story of the making of the Oxford English Dictionary comes alive as the author describes the characters that created the dictionary and the difficulties they faced in its production. The book is a reflection on the nature of language, and the idiosyncrasies of English. Winchester is a masterful narrator.