Peter Gilliver

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Peter Gilliver
Born (1964-06-14)14 June 1964
Middlesbrough, Yorkshire, England
Occupation Lexicographer
Nationality British

Peter Gilliver (born 14 June 1964) is a lexicographer and Associate Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary; as of 2013, he is responsible for the largest three or four entries in the current electronic revision, including the largest (that for "run", which took him over 9 months and has 645 meanings for the verb form alone). His parents were both linguists. He attended Barnard Castle School, and has a degree in Mathematics from Jesus College, Cambridge,[1][citation needed] and a qualification in Information Science from Liverpool.

Gilliver is working on a history of the OED,[2] and travels to lecture on this and related subjects.

He and his partner sing in various choirs, including the Oxford Bach Choir (which they helped to administer for some years), and Fiori Musicali.[3]

Gilliver, a longtime editor who also seems to be the OED’s resident historian, points out that the dictionary feels obliged to include words that many would regard simply as misspellings. No one is particularly proud of the new entry as of December 2003 for nucular, a word not associated with high standards of diction. “Bizarrely, I was amazed to find that the spelling n-u-c-u-l-a-r has decades of history,” Gilliver says. “And that is not to be confused with the quite different word, nucular, meaning ’of or relating to a nucule.’”

— "Cyber-neologoliferation", James Gleick, New York Times, 2006[citation needed]



Title Role Production Date
Balderdash and Piffle OED Panel BBC 2006–2007
University Challenge: The Professionals OUP Captain BBC 12 July & 6 September 2004
Imagine: An A-Z of the OED OED Historian BBC 18 Dec 2003


  1. ^ New York Times Magazine, 5 November 2006
  2. ^ A history of the OED, OED News, March 2005
  3. ^

Bibliography of works[edit]

  • Breaking the code, an examination of the suggested link(s) between Lexicography and cryptography (and crosswords!)
  • Gilliver, Peter (2007), "The Great Un- Crisis: An Unknown Episode in the History of the OED.", in Considine, John, Words and Dictionaries from the British Isles in Historical Perspective, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 166–177, ISBN 1-84718-168-6 
  • Gilliver, Peter; Marshall, Jeremy; Weiner, Edmund (2006), The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199568369 
  • Gilliver, Peter (2006), "Billy Sunday: A New Source for "Oxen of the Sun"", James Joyce Quarterly (University of Tulsa) 44.1: 133, ISSN 0021-4183, OCLC 144575793 
  • Gilliver, Peter (2004), Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America (PDF) 25: 44–64, ISSN 0197-6745  Missing or empty |title= (help); |chapter= ignored (help)
  • Gilliver, Peter (2000), "Appendix II: OED Personalia", in Mugglestone, Lynda, Lexicography and the Oxford English Dictionary: Pioneers in the Untrodden Forest., Oxford University Press, pp. 232–252, ISBN 0-19-925195-9 
  • Gilliver, Peter (1995), "At the Wordface: J.R.R. Tolkien's Work on the Oxford English Dictionary", in Reynolds, Patricia, Proceedings of the J.R.R. Tolkien Centenary Conference, 1992, The Mythopoeic Press / The Tolkien Society, pp. 173–186, ISBN 1-887726-04-7 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]