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The Biggest Thesaurus In The World

The Biggest Thesaurus In The World

The world’s largest thesaurus will be officially launched today by the English Language Department at the University of Glasgow. Officially entitled ‘Historical Thesaurus Of The Oxford English Dictionary’, the collection was no small undertaking, having taken scores of staff, postgraduates, Ph.D students and volunteers 44 (!!) years to complete.

Here’s the money quote from the University press release:

The grand ambition was to map almost every word in the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary on to a vast classification structure where words with similar meaning are grouped together and listed in chronological order from the oldest (c700 A.D.) to the most recent.

The awe-inspiring completed work contains nearly 800,000 meanings, organised into more than 236,000 categories and subcategories collected together in 4,500 pages in two volumes.

There is a launch party for the Thesaurus on campus today for all those involved with the project, which I assume is an insane amount of people, or a small group of very dedicated people. There is also a basic online version of the Thesaurus which you can have a play with.

And yes, you will be able to order it from Amazon, for a bit over £200. I wonder how big of a market this will have. (I want one, just to find a few workds that have died out and start using them again.)

Here are some further articles on the subject:
World’s largest thesaurus debuts [BBC News]
Thesaurus 45 years in the making finally on sale [Telegraph]
The Most Gigantal, Behemothian Thesaurus In The World [NPR]

[Poll #5: What is the Nicest Building at Glasgow University?]
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