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« Resolver One | Main | OED, again »

The Oxford English Dictionary, free

[update: Here is a very rough interface, which will be improved whenever I next have some free time]

Using the OED online costs £200/year, which is silly. Fortunately the first edition is out of copyright, and available at the Internet Archive. Unfortunately, it's a bit tricky to find the right volume in a format that doesn't expect you to download 200MB to look up a word. Djvu seems the best option; you need to install a browser plugin first, but then you can look at individual pages quite easily. Here are links to each volume:

A-B, C, D-E, F-G (pdf only) , H-K, L, M-N, O-P (flip-book only), Q-R, S-SH, SI-SU (flip-book only), SV-TH, TI-U, V-Z (flip-book only)

Other formats are at these links (yes, there are two separate scans, one from the University of Toronto and another from Kragen Sitaker):

  • Volume 1, A-B: Sitaker
  • Volume 2, C: Sitaker
  • Volume 3, D-E: Toronto (partial), Complete?
  • Volume 4, F-G: Sitaker, Toronto (no djvu for either)
  • Volume 5, H-K: Sitaker
  • Volume 6A, L:A Sitaker
  • Volume 6B, M-NB (Sitaker)
  • Volume 7, O-P: Toronto (flip-book only), Unlabelled (flipbook/pdf only)
  • Volume 8A, Q-R: A - Sitaker
  • Volume 8B, S-SHB - Sitaker
  • Volume 9A, SH-SU: Sitaker.
  • Volume 9B, SV-TH: Sitaker, Toronto
  • Volume 10A, TI-U: Sitaker, Toronto
  • Volume 10B, V-Z: Toronto, Sitaker


You are right that DjVu is the appropriate format, cf. e.g. http://bc.klf.uw.edu.pl/71/. Do I understand correctly that there is still no DjVu version of the OED scans?

Best regards


My apology for my unclear previous comment. I had in mind the PDF and flip-book only volumes. As for PDF, this is no problem thanks to http://jwilk.nfshost.com/software/pdf2djvu.html. Unfortunately I am not familiar with flip-book format :-(.



Thanks, Janusz. Yes, I think the important thing is that the data is available in some format. There's no big technical problem in converting it to another format; it's just slightly awkward because of the large file sizes