The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English DictionaryHaving posted previously about dictionaries, now it’s the turn of the dictionary companion – the thesaurus.

Oxford University Press has announced that the world’s largest thesaurus is due to be published in the autumn. The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary, to give it the full name, contains 800,000 meanings in over 230,000 categories, with the project taking over forty years to complete. Started in 1965, the Press originally used classifications from Roget’s, but the authors had to start a new system when it became obvious this was not detailed enough.

The thesaurus has an interesting history, having survived fire and funding problems, along with the above mentioned new classification system. Not to mention all the new words that have been added to the English language since 1965… One of the co-authors, Professor Christian Kay, has been with the project almost since the beginning – starting work when she was 27, she is now 69 and has survived several of the project’s founders.

Apparently the aim is to link the thesaurus to the online Oxford English Dictionary, but no date has yet been set for this – let’s hope it doesn’t take another 40 years! In the meantime, if you’d like to buy your own copy of the thesaurus, it’s a snip at just £250.

See the full article from the BBC here.