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Since the beginning of our relationship, on occasion, Cynthia would get a wistful look in her eye and say to me “Jay, if we ever win the lottery, I’m buying an O.E.D.

I’ve always told her we should just buy one, but it was an extravagance she would not indulge as they are rather expensive. As she has a degree in library science, I’ve always thought she should have one but knew she would frown on me if I paid out the asking price.

Over the years I’ve asked if she would consider the condensed or mini-version of the O.E.D. and she would flatly say no. In more recent years the O.E.D. has been made available in CD ROM format but Cynthia would have none of it.

Last week as I was tinkering around on the Internet I casually typed Oxford English Dictionary into Google. The first search result was an Amazon.com page offering the O.E.D. for $332.00. This was around $800 off off the list price which translates to roughly $600 off the price of most booksellers.

I could not believe what I was seeing.

I checked to make sure it was not the CD ROM – It wasn’t
I checked to make sure it was the 20 volume hard cover set. – It was
I checked to make sure it was being sold by Amazon and not one of their partners – It was

I thought about it and thought I should just buy this and surprise Cynthia. But I couldn’t just move on it without really making sure this was the same thing she wanted and not some abridged version or factory second or something.

I decided to show her the web page.

Like me, she was skeptical. As I suspected she would be.

We tried just searching from the Amazon page and not one of the results returned was the page we were viewing.

We both were very unsure and we even said in unison “If it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t.” It just didn’t add up. How could it be that they would sell this item, BRAND NEW, at such a discounted price. After some more discussion we agreed to give it a pass.

I had the next day off and I couldn’t let it go. If what I was seeing was correct I had the opportunity to acquire the O.E.D. for not much more than the CD ROM version which runs around $250. This would be a chance to score major spouse points!

I checked it again and I verified the return policy and I ordered it. Of course I couldn’t keep a secret and I told Cynthia. She was dubious but hopeful but didn’t allow herself to get her hopes up too terribly much.

Well, they arrived this evening. 5 boxes containing the 20 fat volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary. Individually shrink-wrapped and in perfect condition. It’s an impressive resource.

Cynthia’s in hog heaven and may not get any sleep tonight….

I Want My, I Want My, I Want My O.E.D.

7 thoughts on “I Want My, I Want My, I Want My O.E.D.

  • February 8, 2008 at 7:31 am
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    That’s awesome!

  • February 8, 2008 at 7:35 am
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    that’s pretty cool.
    i’ve always had a kind of jonesing kind of thing about dictionaries. i always try to use the best one i have access too. (my wife just asked to ask if she could have a tea party with the books, because she’s in love with them from that far away but she took it back cause they might get messed but that was her sentiment). but i’m a little cheap and have never been willing to pay for their online versions and am forced to use http://www.m-w.com, and am unwilling to pay for their upgrade version as well.

    i think part of it is that i got stung by britannica.
    i have an every larger hankering for encyclopedias. when i found britannica on DVD for only just over a hundred bucks i jumped at the chance and bought.
    it is indeed britannica but the interface was really crappy. flipping through teh pages could never be as wonderful as the books, of course but not killing trees an saving my bookshelf space seemed worth it. but the flipping was arduous and slow and worse yet, the searching was about the worst searching i have ever seen. the chances that you could ever find what you were looking up, about 3000 to 1 against.

  • February 8, 2008 at 7:38 am
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    Nice find! One of my most cherished gifts is a hard-bound Webster’s that my grandparents gave me as a kid. It’s still the best and only dictionary I use, but it’s no OED. 🙂

  • February 8, 2008 at 9:56 am
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    Cynthia looks like a very happy camper! Great job, Jay.

  • February 14, 2008 at 1:30 pm
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    Oh, that is SO awesome. I don’t have a degree in library science, but I can totally relate to her love for the O.E.D.

    Lucky find! 🙂

  • February 17, 2008 at 6:56 pm
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    Got to love a gift that arrives in 5 boxes!!

  • February 17, 2008 at 8:22 pm
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    We feared that we would end up with 4 of the 5 boxes…

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