Oxford English Dictionary

We are pleased to announce that Coventry Libraries and Information Service now provides access to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) online.

The OED is widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of more than 600,000 words, past and present, from across the English-speaking world.

As a historical dictionary, the OED focuses not only on the meanings of the word, but also on the history of the word, and how it’s meaning has changed over time. The OED traces the history of the English language through 3 million quotations, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books. Updates revise and extend the OED at regular intervals, each time subtly adjusting our image of the English language.

User benefits

  • Each entry shows sense development, quotation evidence and links to related entries
  • Including the online version of The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary
  • Covering British, American, and other varieties of English, as well as all types of usage from formal to slang
  • Quick and advanced search options allowing the user to search for words in the full text of the dictionary
  • Search and browse by subject, region, usage, or by language or origin
  • Narrow your search to words in quotations, definitions, etymologies, or lemmas (words defined in the dictionary), while limiting by part of speech
  • Updated four times a year with thousands of new and revised meanings

“A much-needed new-media setting for appreciating the richness and history of the English language.” - Wall Street Journal

You can use Oxford English Dictionary for free as part of your library membership. Not a member? Join the library.

How to use Oxford English Dictionary

Use Oxford English Dictionary online via the website

  • Go to Oxford English Dictionary
  • You will need your library card number (the 14-digit number on the back of your library card)


Library staff are available to help you use any e-resource provided by the library service. Don’t know where the library is? Find a library.

Tell us

We want to hear your feedback about our digital services.

Email libraries247@coventry.gov.uk