Author Archives: D-AW

David-Antoine Williams. I’m an assistant professor of English at St Jerome’s University, in the University of Waterloo. See “About Me” page on the menu above for details.

Published: Antedating (in) the OED

Out recently in Notes & Queries is a short article by me on antedating rates in the OED since revision started in 2000:Antedating (in) the Oxford English Dictionary The article is OA, and linked in .pdf above. It’s short, and the point is pretty straightforward. I’ll pull out the graphs here for your viewing pleasure. See […]

The New-Look OED: The End of the Entry

The new-look OED Online tosses a lot that was great, and unique, and real, about OED, while offering little new of value.

Published: Women’s Words in the OED

Now published in Review of English Studies, an article by me on the ways in which the Oxford English Dictionary has treated texts authored by women in its marshalling of citation evidence for English language lexis, from the first edition (1884-1928) to the current OED3 revision (2000-). The approach I take is driven by quantitative […]

OED Work on “Writing and Editing” Podcast

I talked with Wayne Jones the other day about my work on the Oxford English Dictionary. The result was this short piece on my plans for an updated OED bibliography and Variorum: 182. Enhancing the Oxford English Dictionary

Money for a Variorum OED & OED Bibliography

Over the past many moons I’ve posted from time to time about my researches into the Oxford English Dictionary, and some of the interesting or puzzling or maddening or heartening things I’ve found there. A big theme lately has been the need for a Variorum, or track-changes, OED, which would allow researchers to compare the […]

Another Review of The Life of Words

In the July 2022 issue of Modern Language Review, a short review by Mia Gaudern. Gaudern is the author of the very good The Etymological Poetry of W. H. Auden, J. H. Prynne, and Paul Muldoon (OUP, 2020), published virtually at the same time by the same press, so she very much knows her stuff […]

Two reviews of The Life of Words

It has been almost two years since I published The Life of Words: Etymology and Modern Poetry, and even longer since I stopped working on it. A couple of reviews have come out, one just the other day. They’re by Barry Wallenstein (in Choice) and Stephanie Burt (in Modern Philology). The latter is free to read without […]

Christmas Dinner

O, how I have complained over “DINNER” in the Oxford English Dictionary [see “Oxford English Dinner“]. The close of 2021 brought an early Christmas surprise: a new, fully revised entry. And it’s not just any revision, but one of those with an extended lexicological and sociohistorical note. The first main definition now says: 1. Originally: […]

Nae Mair for the Nonce?

Growlsome, guzzledom, panfrivolium – Oxford English Dictionary #OED doing away with “nonce-words” | Nae Mair for the Nonce? | The Life of Words

OED “Transgender” Update Update

In my last post [“Why we need a Variorum OED: ‘Transgender’ ” 9/12/2020], I pointed to the OED entry for TRANSGENDER as it appeared in December 2020 as a good example of the need for a Variorum OED, which would label all elements (etymologies, definitions, quotations) with their individual revision histories. Well, in the last […]