Oxford Languages and Google
Google’s English dictionary is provided by Oxford Languages.
Oxford Languages is the world’s leading dictionary publisher, with over 150 years of experience creating and delivering authoritative dictionaries globally in more than 50 languages.
What is included in this English dictionary?
Oxford’s English dictionaries are widely regarded as the world’s most authoritative sources on current English.
This dictionary is regularly updated with evidence from one of the world’s largest lexical research programmes, and features over 350,000 words and phrases.
The coverage spans forms of the English language from across the English-speaking world. British English and American English are only two of the many individual varieties of the language that share a common lexical core but develop their own unique vocabularies. In addition to British and American English, our dictionary documents many further varieties, including forms spoken in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, Ireland, Nigeria, the Philippines, and the West Indies.
How do we create our dictionaries?
At Oxford Languages, we are committed to an evidence-based approach to creating dictionaries in order to provide the most accurate picture of a language.
The evidence we use to create our English dictionaries comes from real-life examples of spoken and written language, gathered through a series of corpora that continuously monitor language development. The corpora, which collect these examples from a variety of language sources, are curated by the Oxford Languages team and enable us to analyse the ways words are used in context by people all around the world.
Our lexicographers analyse genuine uses of words collected from these sources to determine a word’s definition, spelling, and grammatical behaviour, and to offer guidance on a word’s use based on this research. The team uses this process to identify new words and senses as they come into use.
This evidence-based approach to creating a dictionary is known as descriptive lexicography. Our dictionaries aim to describe the way languages are and have been used by people around the world, rather than attempting to prescribe the way a language should be used.
We apply stringent quality checks to all dictionaries produced or acquired by our expert team so our users can feel confident in our ability to accurately and meaningfully represent their language.
Why do we include vulgar and offensive words in our dictionaries?
The role of a descriptive dictionary is to record the existence and meaning of all words in a language, and to clearly identify their status. We include vulgar or offensive words in our dictionaries because such terms are a part of a language’s lexicon. However, we label in our dictionaries words that fit into these categories to reflect their vulgar or offensive status and usage in the language.
We monitor how offensive language changes over time and integrate the changes we observe into our dictionaries to reflect real-life usage. Any changes that are made to our dictionaries are based on empirical evidence collected and analysed through our language research programme.
We are always grateful when users inform us of cases they believe do not meet our rigorous quality standards, whether due to changing cultural sensitivities or for other reasons.
Why do we include slang and regional dialects in our dictionaries?
In our mission to accurately and comprehensively document all words in a language’s lexicon, we record and describe real-life language usage in all of its forms – including slang and regional dialects.
All slang terms and vocabulary from different regions and dialects are clearly labelled in our dictionary entries, so that users can be confident in a word’s language status and typical usage.
As is the case for all of our dictionary entries, any changes or additions must be the subject of sufficient evidence, and all entries, including those documenting slang and regional dialects, are subject to regular review and updates as appropriate.
How do we source our example sentences?
Example sentences are real-life examples selected to help people understand words in the context in which they are commonly used. These sentences do not replace our definitions but give additional context.
Our expert team of lexicographers pull all of our descriptive example sentences from real-life sources collected in our multi-billion-word corpora.
The team analyses evidence to select example sentences that present a word in the typical grammatical and semantic context without distracting from the essential information the definition conveys.
We do our best to eliminate example sentences that contain factually incorrect, prejudiced, or offensive statements from real-life sources and always welcome feedback on specific cases you feel do not meet our rigorous quality standards so that we can review and update our dictionaries.