Sullivan Family Library | Tutorials | Oxford English Dictionary

Oxford English Dictionary

The Oxford English Dictionary is the most comprehensive dictionary of the English language. Use it to find the definition or etymology of a word or quotations that include particular words or phrases by a specific author.


Access Online Databases.



1.  Go to Sullivan Family Library’s home page at

2.  Click on Search For, then Databases by Title

3. Select Oxford English Dictionary (under Books and Ebooks).

4.  Off campus access requires login with Chaminade ID and password.


Search - Find Word

OED Find Word


1.  Type your word in the Find Word box.

2.  Click find word

3. A single result, or list of results, will display.

4.  Click on your result.


Search - Simple

1.  Full text search using  OED Simple Search button  button (bottom of screen).

OED Simple Search


2.  Search box will appear on left side

3.  Type in the word or phrase you want to find.

4. Select in:

  • Full text
  • First cited date
  • First cited author
  • First cited work
  • Definitions
  • Etymologies
  • Language names
  • Quotations
  • Quotation date
  • Quotation author
  • Quotation works
  • Quotation text

5.  Click on Start Search

6.  For proximity searching, click on [More options].

OED Proximity Search

  • Search for two words or phrases near each other.
  • Type the word you want to find in the Search for box.
  • Choose your search area from the list box showing full text.
  • Type your second word into the bottom box.
  • Choose from the list box the maximum number of words you want your terms to be separated by (default 1 word).
  • Click Start Search.
  • Click on entry in results list.


Search – Advanced

1.  Click on   OED Advanced Search button  (bottom of screen)

OED Advanced Search

2.  Search for  Entries or Quotations

3. Type in search term(s) and search area.

4.  Select Boolean operator (AND, OR, AND NOT, NEAR, NOT NEAR).

5.  Select Options:

  • Case-sensitive searching
  • Exact character searching
  • Options for NEAR/NOT NEAR
  • Order of operations
  • Research search to results of
  • Part of speech filter

6.  Click on Start Search.

7.  Previous searches are shown on the bottom of the screen.


Other Searches

1.   Browse

  • Entry list (side-frame)
  • Cross reference link

 2.  Words that Rhyme

  • Use the International Phonetic Alphabet in OED Online's Help.
  • Enter the part of the word you want to rhyme and select "pronunciations."


Search Tips

Occurrence of any number of characters


To find all words and phrases beginning with work (work, worker, working, workplace, etc.)


To find pat, paint, pragmatist, etc.


Single occurrence of any character

Use one ? for each unknown letter


To find pat, pet, pit, pot, put


To find past, peat, pint, etc.

Accents are ignored


Hyphens are treated as spaces


Not case sensitive



1.  Select tab:

  • Pronunciation
  • Spelling
  • Etymology
  • Quotations
  • Date Chart

2.  Sort by (bottom left):

  • Entry name
  • Entry date
  • Quotation date

3.  Bookmark entry

4.  OED Print button

5.  OED Mail button

     Emails link to entry (available for three days)



OED Help button

  • Quick Reference Guide
  • Tour of OED Online

Reference Desk   739-4660



Updated February 2009