Dictionary of Old English

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The Dictionary of Old English (DOE) is a dictionary published by the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto under the direction of Angus Cameron (1941–1983), Ashley Crandell Amos (1951–1989), and Antonette diPaolo Healey. It "defines the vocabulary of the first six centuries (600-1150 A.D.) of the English language, using today's most advanced technology. The DOE complements the Middle English Dictionary (which covers the period 1100–1500 A.D.) and the Oxford English Dictionary, the three together providing a full description of the vocabulary of English." [1]

The dictionary is still under production, as "one third of the Dictionary--eight of the 22 letters of the Old English alphabet--has been published, and more than 60% of the total entries have been written to date." [1]

The dictionary has made extensive use of digital technology. It "is based on a computerized Corpus comprising at least one copy of each text surviving in Old English. The total size is about five times the collected works of Shakespeare." [1]

It is available in 3 formats [2]


The dictionary was conceived in 1968 as a replacement for the Bosworth–Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, which had been compiled at a time when both the study of the Old English language and lexicographical techniques were less advanced.[3] From the outset, the editors were interested in the potential application of computer technology to the task of compiling the dictionary, and in basing the dictionary text on a corpus. A dictionary plan was published in 1973.[4] It was originally anticipated that work on the dictionary would begin in 1976 and the dictionary would begin appearing in fascicles shortly thereafter;[3] however, it was not until 1986 that the first fascicle was published, covering words beginning with the letter D.[4]


  1. ^ a b c About the Dictionary of Old English
  2. ^ Publications of the Dictionary of Old English
  3. ^ a b Leyerle, John (1971). ""The Dictionary of Old English": A Progress Report". Computers and the Humanities 5 (5): 279–283. doi:10.1007/BF02402209. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Publications of the Dictionary of Old English". Dictionary of Old English. University of Toronto. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 

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