More Precisions on Revisions

In the comments to my last post [OED3 Revision Revised for 2020] I posted this chart, in reply to a remark about projected completion:

This implies that revision has slowed down somewhat in the last ten years, and even more in the last five. But it was pointed out to me elsewhere that entries per se might not be the best measure of revision–some entries are short and simple and can be revised quickly; some are long and complicated and so take up more resources. There is no reason to suppose a regular distribution in this.

So I put together the following three charts, which measure progress in three different ways:

Each of these measures shows overall decline in revision rate since 2010, with some fluctuation year-to-year. And, while 2016 seems to be an exception,  the most recent five years are definitely the least productive five years in the history of the revision, and it looks like six of the last seven years have made less headway than any year since the work really took off in 2003!

Here’s hoping the next score years live up to the first.


OED3 Revision, Revised for 2020

In my previous post [OED3’s Revision Status (c. 2018.12.15)] I took a bird’s eye view of when various parts of the Oxford English Dictionary Online (OED3) were added, and when revised (if they’ve been revised). I came up with a figure that at the end of last year (2018), 50.4% of entries in OED3 were […]


OED3’s Revision Status (c. 2018.12.15)

Most people know that the OED is in the midst of a wholesale revision of legacy OED material dating back in some cases to the 1890s, in addition to the regular updates and additions we hear about in quarterly bulletins. This work started to be published almost 20 years ago, now, and may go on […]


Posting Over at the OED Blog

I’ve written a post for the OED blog, digging into OED data on regional varieties of English: “When Regional Englishes Got Their Words“. Check it out! — there I plot the number and date of all OED first citations pertaining to senses typical of regional Englishes, and take a closer look at the chronology of […]


OED Antedating OED

In 6 years, OED went from a 40% to a 60% antedating rate, a remarkable improvement.You want to know what the biggest antedating has been so far, don’t you? Well, I’ll tell you.


“Bastard” goes legit! (and has some babies of its own)

The June 2019 update to OED3 has many lovely lexicographical additions: the first three listed are ‘ayuh’, ‘bae’, and ‘ball sack’ (if that gives any indication). Twitterati have commented on ‘upper-class twit’ and ‘you (wee) dancer’. But what caught our eye was the adjacent article by senior editor Matthew Bladen on revisions to “bastard, n.” […]


Boathouse Words

Q: What’s the difference between having a SQUIRREL FACE and having a FACE SQUIRREL? A:                      Generally speaking, if you want a word for a MORP that has FUZ, you call it a FUZ-MORP, right? And if there’s a FUZ that gets rid of your MORPS, […]


Insinuendo: OED’s Opinions

The Oxford English Dictionary is rightly regarded as a dispassionate authority on English words, recording without fear or favour as many of those little beasts as it can. But OED editors have not always been above a bit of prescriptive snark. Here is a list of opinions Robert Burchfield, editor of the Second Supplement, decided […]


The Life of Words Anthology 2018

Every year we run a poetry competition, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation and the English Department of St Jerome’s University. We invite submissions from all Ontario high school students, on a topic to do with language or linguistics. This year we received over 200 poems from all over the province. We […]


Gender Shifts in American Names

Lately I’ve been working with several different gender-inference tools, tweaking them here and there to serve my purposes. Since I’m working with a historical dataset with about eight million records, from 1800 to today, once of the packages I’m using is the gender library for R by Lincoln Mullen, which uses historical US census and […]