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Oxford Latin Dictionary

'''The ''Oxford Latin Dictionary'' (or OLD''') is the standard lexicon of Classical Latin completed in 1982.

The dictionary professes to be "independent alike of Lewis & Short on the one hand and of the ''Thesaurus Linguae Latinae'' on the other." It "is based on an entirely fresh reading of the Latin sources. It follows, generally speaking, the principles of the Oxford English Dictionary, and its formal layout of articles is similar." (p. v).


The compilation of the more than one million quotations on which the work was based began in 1933. The dictionary itself was originally published in eight fascicles at two-yearly intervals from 1968 until 1982. The complete dictionary contains c. 40,000 entries on 2,150 pages.

The first editor of the dictionary was A. Souter, but after he retired in 1939, Cyril Bailey and J. M. Wyllie were appointed co-editors. From 1949, Wyllie was the sole editor, and he was replaced in 1954 by P. G. W. Glare, who remained in the position until the completion of the lexicon.

Other members of the editorial staff were C. O. Brink (1938–42), E. A Parker (1939–46), M. Alford (1942–45), J. Chadwick (1946–52), B. V. Slater (1947–49), D. C. Browning (1949–50), W. M. Edwards (1950–69), J. D. Craig (1952–53), C. L. Howard (1952–58), G. E. Turton (1954–70), R. H. Barrow (1954–82), S. Trenkner (1955–57), R. C. Palmer (1957–82), G. M. Lee (1968–82), and D. Raven (1969–70).

Comparison with other dictionaries

The OLD replaces Lewis and Short’s dictionary from 1879. However, whereas L&S included late and ecclesiastical Latin, the OLD covers only Latin literature until AD 200. Still, OLD is a far more reliable dictionary than L&S, since it is based on a whole new reading of the literature, whereas L&S incorporates much material from older dictionaries.

The Thesaurus Linguae Latinae is far more ambitious than the OLD, but after 100 years only two thirds of this comprehensive dictionary has been published.

Source: Wikipedia