Fwd: Heaven, Hell and classic curses updated as new revision strategy announced by OED editors

Grant Barrett gbarrett at WORLDNEWYORK.ORG
Thu Mar 13 14:44:46 UTC 2008

This may be good news for those of you who have lamented that certain  
OED entries are in need of updating but won't be because of the slow  
OED update cycle and its alphabetical progression.

Begin forwarded message:
> Major changes announced to the revision of the
> Oxford English Dictionary Online
> For the last eight years, lexicographers at Oxford University Press  
> have been revising - in alphabetical sequence - every entry in the  
> OED Online. It is the first time material written by James Murray  
> and the early editors has been changed since they finished the first  
> edition of the OED in 1928. The result of this ambitious undertaking  
> will be a completely revitalized Oxford English Dictionary.
> So far, the sequence of revised entries published online has  
> proceeded from the letter ‘M’ to ‘quit shilling’ (representing up to  
> a quarter of the dictionary).
> Now, however, the OED team is announcing new changes to the  
> publication of its quarterly online updates.
> Unlike previous updates, the March 2008 update will focus on the  
> revision of key words and word clusters, rather than on a single  
> alphabetical range.
> The main purpose of this change is to revise, much earlier than  
> would otherwise have been the case, important English words whose  
> meanings or application have developed most over the past century:  
> i.e. computer, culture, fuck, gay, and genetic. Some of these key  
> words are, as one might expect, among those often looked up by  
> readers of the OED.
> Future updates are likely to alternate between alphabetical ranges  
> and out-of-sequence revisions. Therefore the next publication range  
> (June 2008) will continue with an alphabetical update from quits,  
> and the subsequent one (September 2008) will present a further range  
> of major words and their associated alphabetical clusters.
> Each update will continue to include batches of new words entering  
> the OED for the first time. These entries will continue to be taken  
> from across the alphabetical range.
> The Oxford English Dictionary Online records how the English  
> language is – and has been – used in writing and in speech. Many  
> words have developed dramatically in terms of meaning and usage over  
> the last century, since the first OED definitions were written.
> “If we had continued to update solely in alphabetical sequence, many  
> high-priority words would have had to wait their alphabetical turn  
> before being revised,” says John Simpson, Chief Editor of the OED.  
> “Similarly, when words are related (such as affect and effect) it is  
> sensible to update them simultaneously, rather than in alphabetical  
> order.  The electronic format has revolutionized the way people use  
> the Dictionary to search and retrieve information. The changes will  
> give added momentum to our new online edition: it is satisfying to  
> see that more key and often-consulted terms will be available in  
> really up-to-date form.”
> Entries which have been revised in the March online update include  
> aircraft, American, climate, economy, electricity, evolution, fuck,  
> gay, genetic, heaven, and hell. New words entering the OED Online  
> for the first time include Americanesque, ballerino, eco-sensitive,  
> Eurostar, loveboat, and sadster. A complete list of revised and new  
> entries in this release is attached (new entries are highlighted  
> within the complete list). Also attached is a summary sheet showing  
> the groupings of words chosen for revision; this can also be found  
> at:   www.oed.com/help/updates/a-z-1.html.
> To interview an OED editor, or for a full list of new and updated  
> words
> please contact Purdy, Director of Publicity, 212.726.6032, or christian.purdy at oup.com
> Purdy
> Director of Publicity
> Oxford University Press, Inc.
> 198 Madison Ave.
> NY, NY  10016
> 212.726.6032
> christian.purdy at oup.com

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