Antedating headwords in the third edition of the OED: Findings and problems

By November 17, 2016,
AuthorMirosława Podhajecka
TitleAntedating headwords in the third edition of the OED: Findings and problems
AbstractThe present paper describes problems involved in antedating headwords in the third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED3). One of the elements in urgent need of revision in the previous edition was the dating of quotations but, despite the intensive labours of the lexicographers, some OED3 headwords and senses are still likely to be misdated. This paper is based on the premise that Google Books, a gigantic online resource, can be applied successfully for the verification of OED3 dating. Indeed, my findings indicate clearly that Google Books has a vast research potential, because half of the words in my sample (covering 129 items related to dancing) have been antedated in full-text sources. However, neither the search procedure nor the interpretation of data retrieved is straightforward, so a number of ambiguous and problematic examples have been provided to show that antedating is far more intricate than it seems at first sight. For example, one has to repeatedly distinguish between related senses, evaluate the relevance of similar word-forms and determine whether or not the words can be treated as fully-fledged loanwords. Even though many of my decisions were purely intuitive, I nonetheless hope that at least some of the antedatings found in Google Books turn out to be helpful for OED3 lexicographers in the on-going revision process.
SessionHistorical and Scholarly Lexicography and Etymology
author = {Miroslawa Podhajecka},
title = {Antedating headwords in the third edition of the OED: Findings and problems},
pages = {1044-1064},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 14th EURALEX International Congress},
year = {2010},
month = {jul},
date = {6-10},
address = {Leeuwarden/Ljouwert, The Netherlands},
editor = {Anne Dykstra and Tanneke Schoonheim},
publisher = {Fryske Akademy},
isbn = {978-90-6273-850-3},