‘[An] astonishing book’ Sunday Times
What do three murderers, Karl Marx’s daughter and a vegetarian vicar have in common?
They all helped create the Oxford English Dictionary.
The Oxford English Dictionary has long been associated with elite institutions and Victorian men. But the Dictionary didn’t just belong to the experts; it relied on contributions from members of the public. By 1928, its 414,825 entries had been crowdsourced from a surprising and diverse group of people, from astronomers to murderers, naturists, pornographers, suffragists and queer couples.
Lexicographer Sarah Ogilvie dives deep into previously untapped archives to tell a people’s history of the OED. Here, she reveals, for the first time, the full story of the making of one of the most famous books in the world – and celebrates the extraordinary efforts of the Dictionary People.
‘Enthralling and exuberant … Here is a wonder-book for word-lovers’ Jeanette Winterson
‘I have not been able to put The Dictionary People down … I completely love it’ Joanna Lumley
‘Marvellous, witty and wholly original’ Alan Rusbridger