Our Story


Our story is one of continual innovation dedicated to the advancement of language knowledge for the benefit of everyone, everywhere.


For over 150 years this mission has been central to our narrative as we have grown from one ambitious project to become the world’s most trusted language content provider.


In the mid-nineteenth century, the Philological Society of London proposed a complete re-examination of the English language. Little did the Society know how ambitious a project this would turn out to be, and it was a pioneering team from Oxford University Press that would see the ten-volume first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary published 71 years later.


The OED set the precedent for the creation of historical dictionaries and its pioneering use of real-life evidence of words in context, sourced with the help of a generous global public, became the foundation of a flourishing language research programme at Oxford Languages.


From the world-famous Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary to our global languages programme, we have since published world-class content in a greater range of languages and formats – print, digitized, online, data – than ever before.


Our research programme has gone from strength to strength with the exploration of innovative new methodologies and state-of-the-art technologies to help us monitor and analyze language development in real-time.


Our partnerships with leading academic institutions, enterprising start-ups, and technology giants have embedded this content at the cutting-edge of language research and global communications, powering the programmes and products that are equipping communities around the world with authoritative, evidence-based content of the highest quality.


Oxford Languages today is facing a new chapter in its story and as we look back to our beginnings, we can see that same forward-thinking, mission-focused narrative at the heart of everything we do to unlock the power of language for learning and for life.