A Labour of Love

A Labour of Love

It may have taken more than four decades, but the world’s largest English language thesaurus has finally been completed. Work on The Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary began in 1965, and according to this story in the Times, the project has survived fire, funding challenges and the need for constant updates, to only name a few of the many challenges it faced. After 44 years this labour of love is finally ready to be published.

The Times: “With 800,000 meanings for 600,000 words organised into more than 230,000 categories and subcategories, the thesaurus is twice the size of Roget’s version. It contains almost the entire vocabulary of English, from Old English to the present day, giving a unique insight into the development of the language.

“The project began 44 years ago with Michael Samuels, then Professor of English Language at the University of Glasgow. Several of the project’s founders have since died.” One of the current editorsfirst began work on the project during the late 1960s, when she was just 27. She’s now 69 years old.

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