Historical Thesaurus of English

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Historical Thesaurus of English
Historical Thesaurus of English logo.png
Type of site
Academic
OwnerUniversity of Glasgow
EditorChristian Kay, Marc Alexander, Fraser Dallachy, Jane Roberts, Michael Samuels, and Irené Wotherspoon (editors)
URLwww.ht.ac.uk
CommercialNo
RegistrationNone
Current statusVersion 4.21, since December 2016[1]
Content licence
Free for personal and non-commercial research[2]

The Historical Thesaurus of English (HTE) is the largest thesaurus in the world. It is called a historical thesaurus as it arranges the whole vocabulary of English, from the earliest written records in Old English to the present, according to the first documented occurrence of a word in the entire history of the English language. The HTE was conceived and begun in 1965 by the English Language & Linguistics department of the University of Glasgow, who have ever since continued to compile the thesaurus. From the 1980s onwards the project was moved from paper-based records to a computer database.

Today, the HTE is available to the public online, but a print version, the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary (HTOED) , was published in 2009.

Main project: The Historical Thesaurus of English (HTE)[edit]

The Historical Thesaurus of English (HTE) is a complete database of all the words in the Oxford English Dictionary and other dictionaries (including Old English), arranged by semantic field and date. In this way, the HTE arranges the whole vocabulary of English, from the earliest written records in Old English to the present, alongside dates of use.

It is the first historical thesaurus to be compiled for any of the world's languages and contains 800,000 meanings for 600,000 words, within 230,000 categories.[3][4] As the HTE website states, "in addition to providing hitherto unavailable information for linguistic and textual scholars, the Historical Thesaurus online is a rich resource for students of social and cultural history, showing how concepts developed through the words that refer to them."[5]

Structure[edit]

The work is divided into three main sections: the External World, the Mind, and Society. These are broken down into successively narrower domains. The text eventually discriminates more than 236,000 categories. The second order categories are:[6]

History[edit]

The ambitious project was announced at a 1965 meeting of the Philological Society by its originator, Michael Samuels.[7] Work on the HTE started in the same year.[citation needed]

In 2017, the University of Glasgow was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education for the HTE.[citation needed]

A second edition of the online HTE is currently in progress and is expected to be launched in late 2020.[8] Work is released on the freely-available HTE website when available. [8]

Print edition: Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary (HTOED)[edit]

Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary: With additional material from A Thesaurus of Old English
Printed boxed set
Print edition of version 1.0 of the Historical Thesaurus of English[1]
AuthorChristian Kay, Jane Roberts, Michael Samuels, and Irené Wotherspoon (editors)
Working titleHistorical Thesaurus of English
CountryGreat Britain
LanguageEnglish
SubjectHistory of the English language
GenreThesauri
Published2009 (Oxford University Press)
Pages4,448
AwardsScottish Research Book of the Year Award, Saltire Society Literary Awards, 2009
ISBN978-0199208999
OCLC318409912
LC ClassPE1591 .H55 2009

On 22 October 2009, after 44 years of work, version 1.0 of the HTE was published by Oxford University Press in a two-volume slipcased set as the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary (HTOED).[9] The two hardcover volumes together total nearly 4,500 pages.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Versions of the Thesaurus". The Historical Thesaurus of English. University of Glasgow. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  2. ^ "Using Historical Thesaurus Data". The Historical Thesaurus of English. University of Glasgow. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  3. ^ Woolcock, Nicola (6 July 2009). "After a 44-year labour of love worlds biggest thesaurus is born". The Times. London.(subscription required)
  4. ^ Hitchings, Henry (23 October 2009). "Historical Thesaurus is a masterpiece worth waiting 40 years for". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  5. ^ "Home page". The Historical Thesaurus of English. University of Glasgow. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  6. ^ "Classification". The Historical Thesaurus of English. University of Glasgow. Retrieved 22 October 2014. An oversize, one-page listing of all categories in top three tiers is available for download here.
  7. ^ Crystal, David (2014). Words in Time and Place: Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. vii. ISBN 978-0199680474.
  8. ^ a b "Second Edition". The Historical Thesaurus of English. University of Glasgow. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  9. ^ "UK | England | Oxfordshire | Forty-year wait for new thesaurus". BBC News. 6 July 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2010.

External links[edit]

  • "Search". The Historical Thesaurus of English. University of Glasgow. open access