Book Reviews of The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary

The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary
The Meaning of Everything The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary
Author: Simon Winchester
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ISBN-13: 9780060592356
ISBN-10: 0060592354
Publication Date: 10/1/2003
Edition: Unabridged
Rating:
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 8

4.1 stars, based on 8 ratings
Publisher: HarperAudio
Book Type: Audio Cassette
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

8 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary on + 62 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book was every bit as much fun as I'd hoped it would be, most focused on the OED from its inception in 1857 through first complete publication in 1928. Purposes and goals, compilation of information, obstacles, personalities... all woven in a well-told easy read. Winchester also gives some background on dictionary development, more interesting than you might think; OED's supplements, 1989 second edition, and ongoing updates even now; plus bibliography and good index. Reads like a novel, but I'll keep it on my reference shelf.
reviewed The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A surprisingly engaging look at the men who labored for over 70-years without the aid of computers to produce the Oxford English Dictionary, a 12-volume beast originally published in 1928. A "Revised Edition" yet to be published may be as large as 40-volumes and weigh as much as a sixth of a ton. "Each printing would consume a sizeable acreage of woodland. The environment would be affected, significantly." Perhaps then, it will only see life on the Net. A great read for those who love the English language.
reviewed The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary on
Helpful Score: 1
A fascinating "listen" for any student of English who is interested in etymology and the history of the OED. Includes numerous details and anecdotes on the dictionary making process, various eccentric editors of the dictionary, and their efforts to cultivate public participation in the project which spanned over a half century.
reviewed The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary on + 75 more book reviews
great for bookophiles and language lovers: what does it take to put the whole english language in a dictionary?
reviewed The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary on + 5454 more book reviews
Quite entertaining, addresses the foibles and fortitude of those who spent most of their lives creating the Oxford Dictionary, 1850-1928
reviewed The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary on + 59 more book reviews
unabridged
reviewed The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary on
This audiobook was so boring that I couldn't even finish it. The subject sounds boring to begin with, but it was unabridged and only about $5.99 when I bought it. Now I know why! I got about halfway through the second disc and had to shut it off because they started talking less about history, and more about lists of words that were derived from other words. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz........

This is the second book I have read by Simon Winchester (the first being The Professor and the Madman) and I don't think I'll be reading anything else written by him ever again. His style is too boring and drab for me.
reviewed The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary on + 29 more book reviews
Very good. Light entertainment. It is not as good as Professor and the Madman, also written by Simon Winchester. The author in a later chapter recounts the Professor and the madman story, so if you want only to read or listen to one, then listen or read this one.

A case study on how a dictionary progressed from novelity words to serious study. Projects like wikipedia are not new. This 70 plus year endevor was crowdsourced before the internet and modern computers. It is interesting how they did it. It did take a long time for the OED to finish it task of catologing all the words used in the english language. It is a work that never ends because english is constantly changing.