Are you curious about the origins of words in English? Plough Library has an online subscription to the definitive dictionary of the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Along with present-day definitions, the OED provides the history of individual words, sometimes from as far back as the 11th century, and of the language—traced through 3.5 million quotations, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts, song lyrics, and social media posts.

In mid-July, the OED got a whole new look and improved functionality. If you've used it before, be sure to check it now and see how much easier it is to find what you need.

Learn to use the OED:

The history of the OED itself is pretty fascinating. Plough Library has two books about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary if you want to check them out and learn more!

Cover ArtThe Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester
Call Number: 423 W56
Publication Date: 1998
Cover ArtThe Meaning of Everything by Simon Winchester
Call Number: 423 W56m 2003
Publication Date: 2003