Type of site
|Owner||Oxford University Press|
Oxford Dictionaries, formerly Oxford Dictionaries Online (ODO), is a collection of online dictionaries produced by Oxford University Press (OUP), the publishing house of the University of Oxford, which also publishes a number of print dictionaries, among other works.
The collection includes dictionaries of English and Spanish provided free of charge on a website called Lexico, a collaboration between OUP and Dictionary.com, as well as Oxford Dictionaries Premium, a subscription service. Oxford Dictionaries' definitions appear in Google definition search, the Dictionary application on macOS, etc., licensed through Oxford Dictionaries API.
Hosted under oxforddictionaries.com, Oxford Dictionaries Online was launched in 2010. Buyers of the third edition of the Oxford Dictionary of English, also published in 2010, were granted a one-year subscription to the website's subscription content. The website's English dictionaries incorporated content of the Oxford Dictionary of English, New Oxford American Dictionary, Oxford Thesaurus of English, and Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus. It also provided a Spanish monolingual dictionary and bilingual dictionaries between English and several languages. As of June 2014[update], it was updated every three months.
In 2014, OUP launched Oxford Global Languages, an initiative to build lexical resources (bilingual dictionaries) of the world's languages, starting with Zulu and Northern Sotho online dictionaries released in 2015. In 2016, the free content of Oxford Dictionaries Online was rebranded as Oxford Living Dictionaries, and the subscription content was moved to a different subdomain, premium.oxforddictionaries.com.
In June 2019, the free-of-charge dictionaries of English and Spanish were moved to Lexico.com, a collaboration between OUP and Dictionary.com, though with the lexicographic content continuing to be written solely by OUP staff. While the offer of the US English dictionary on Oxford Living Dictionaries was terminated after the migration to Lexico except for words which the UK dictionary did not have entries for, the US dictionary became fully available again on Lexico in early 2020. "Lexico" was itself part of the former name of the company Dictionary.com, Lexico Publishing Group, LLC.
In March 2020, the remaining Oxford Living Dictionaries websites, which hosted dictionaries made in the Global Languages programme, were closed. A statement from OUP said, "Rather than offering a dictionary website for every digitally under-resourced language, we will facilitate third parties to build products and services that best serve the needs of each individual language community. Our efforts will be focused on creating and providing the data that these third parties need." At the time of the closure, they hosted dictionaries of Zulu, Northern Sotho, Malay, Urdu, Tswana, Indonesian, Romanian, Latvian, Swahili, Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati, Tatar, Xhosa, Southern Quechua, Tajik, Tok Pisin, Turkmen, Telugu, and Greek.
Comparison with the Oxford English Dictionary
The website of the Oxford English Dictionary described its difference from Oxford Dictionaries as follows:
The dictionary content in Oxford Dictionaries focuses on current English and includes modern meanings and uses of words. Where words have more than one meaning, the most important and common meanings in modern English are given first, and less common and more specialist or technical uses are listed below. The OED, on the other hand, is a historical dictionary and it forms a record of all the core words and meanings in English over more than 1,000 years, from Old English to the present day, and including many obsolete and historical terms. Meanings are ordered chronologically in the OED, according to when they were first recorded in English ...
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