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This user's guide contains all you need to know about using the site. The Help text below is written for readers who have a subscription to the full content, but please note that you can access the dictionary and other sections on the site http://www.oxforddictionaries.com without charge and without any need to login. For readers who have full access rights either individually or through your institution, once you have logged in you will be taken to the site http://www.english.oxforddictionaries.com, where you can access the full functionality described below.
This guide describes all the features you will encounter as you explore the content. To find help on a specific topic, click on the headings in the Table of Contents on the left, or use your browser's find facility. Alternatively, you may prefer to read this guide in full as a narrative introduction to the site. You can access this guide at any time by clicking the Help link in the top right-hand corner. It will open at the part of the guide most relevant to your current location on the site.
A number of other resources are available to users of the Oxford Dictionaries Pro web site:
• For general information about Oxford Dictionaries Pro, see the About section
• Our FAQs contain answers to your most frequent editorial, customer service, and technical questions.
• For an update on the most recent developments on the site, see What's new. If, after consulting these pages, you still have further comments, questions, or technical queries about using the site, contact our customer service desk.
You, or your library or an institution to which you are affiliated, must have a current subscription to log in to the Oxford Dictionaries Pro web site. For information about subscribing to Oxford Dictionaries Pro, click here.
If you have your own subscription to the Oxford Dictionaries Pro web site, type your user name and password in the login box at the top of the homepage. Your password is case-sensitive. If you have problems logging in, or have forgotten your password, please consult Subscriber services.
If you are logging in to the Oxford Dictionaries Pro web site from an institution which has a subscription, or if your institution uses a referring URL system, you should be able to enter the site automatically, based on authentication of your IP address. If your institution uses Athens or Shibboleth to control access, please use those links on the homepage. If you encounter problems, please consult your system administrator or librarian.
If you have an Athens account or you are at an institution using an Access Management Federation please select your institution from the drop down list provided. If your institution is not listed or you have any other questions please contact us:
Outside the Americas: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Some public libraries allow remote access to websites to which they subscribe. Your librarian can tell you if that option is available to you. If your library does allow remote access, enter your library card number in the Library Card box on the home page. If you encounter difficulties entering the site using your library card number, please consult your librarian.
Every time you log in to the Oxford Dictionaries Pro web site you begin a session – a period during which the subscription system recognizes you as a user. If you log out, close your browser, spend some time in the public pages of the site, or simply do nothing in the site for a while, your session will time out. If this happens, you will be asked to log in again.
If you are using your own computer, you can minimize the inconvenience by setting your browser to remember your credentials, for example by accepting the offer to remember your username and password.
Across the top of the screen is the site header which contains links to administrative and information resources. These appear on every page.
• About links to information about the web site
• What's New is information about current updates and developments.
• Subscriber Services provides help and contact details for questions about your subscription, and account management facilities for library administrators.
• Contact us tells you how to contact customer services with your feedback.
• Help opens these Help pages. When you click on this link, you will go to the section appropriate to the page you are on.
• Log out ends your session
• Sign in to My Oxford Dictionary enables you to access your personalized account; you need to register for this first using the next button:
• Create My Oxford Dictionary profile allows you to create an account in which you can save and organize entries and searches
• Version allows you to choose either the Oxford Dictionary of English or the New Oxford American Dictionary to search, together with the corresponding thesaurus
• Clicking the Oxford Dictionaries Pro logo returns you to the home page
The five tabs take you to the different content sections of the site, each of which has its own landing page and search box.
The site contains two English dictionaries, The Oxford Dictionary of English (2nd ed., rev. 2005) and the New Oxford American Dictionary (2nd ed., 2005). These are both single volume dictionaries of current English, each connected to a thesaurus, either the Oxford Thesaurus of English (2009) or the Oxford American Writers’ Thesaurus (2nd ed., 2008). You may select which version you would like to search using the options US English| World English in the top banner, or in the preferences in your My Oxford Dictionaries account, if you have set one up. Institutional administrators can set the preference in their account by selecting either ODE (for World English) or NOAD (for US English). This selection also affects the version of texts in the For writers and editors section.
The free site also contains four up-to-date bilingual dictionaries in French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
The Example sentences section is a dataset of illustrative examples of word usage taken from various Oxford dictionaries.
The section For writers and editors contains the following texts:
New Hart’s Rules (2005)
Allen, Robert. Pocket Fowler’s Modern English Usage (2nd ed., 2008)/ (US) Garner, Bryan. Garner’s Modern American Usage (3rd ed., 2009)
New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors (2005)
Oxford Dictionary for Scientific Writers and Editors (2nd ed., 2009)
The Writing skills section contains material amalgamated and adapted for online use from a variety of sources, including :
Butterfield, Jeremy. Oxford A-Z of English Usage (2007)
Seeley, John. Oxford A-Z of Grammar and Punctuation (2nd ed., 2009)
Compact Oxford English Dictionary for Students (2006)
Compact Oxford Thesaurus for university and College Students (2007)
Oxford A-Z of Better Spelling (2nd ed., 2009)
The For writers and editors and Writing skills sections can be accessed via the information boxes at the bottom of the middle panel, as well as via the main tabs.
The Puzzles section contains a crossword solver and an anagram solver.
The box in the middle panel of the homepage offers the option of doing either a dictionary or a thesaurus Quick Search. Just click on the name of the section you wish to search. The More link will off you a dropdown list of the other searchable sections. On the free site, you can search for a term in any language simply by typing it into the search box, but the drop-down box on the right allows you to restrict your search to a particular dictionary, such as French-English. To do an Advanced dictionary search with more control options, click on that word below the box to go to the Advanced Search screen
This section can be used as a way into the dictionaries when you don’t have a specific word in mind to search for. To start browsing the dictionary, either click the Go button to see a full A to Z list of all the entries, or choose one of the six categories and their sub-sections to see a filtered list of entries which are classified there. You can also go to the A to Z list at any time by clicking the Dictionary/Thesaurus tab.
Follow the link to read our Word of the Day. You can also sign up to have it emailed to you, or receive it via RSS feed.
Use this alphabetical list to browse all the entries in the dictionaries. Click any word in the list to display it.
To do a Quick Search, you can search directly from the homepage, as described above, or by using the search box in the top right-hand corner of every page. Here you can choose to search the dictionaries, the thesaurus, the other sections via the More link, or to use the dictionary advanced search.
You may enter single words or multi-word searches. Click the Go button to initiate your search, or hit the Enter key.
If there is a single matching entry to your search, it will be displayed. If there is more than one entry, a results list will appear.
You do not need to enter accented letters in Quick Search in order to find words which contain accents. A search for cafe finds cafe, café, Cafe, Café, CAFE, CAFÉ.
To enter accented characters in French, German, Italian, and Spanish from a desktop computer, click on the virtual keyboard to the right of the search box. To enter accented characters on a smartphone, tap and hold down the letter required on the smartphone keyboard, and a list of accented characters will appear.
Hyphens and spaces are treated interchangeably. A search for house to house will also match house-to-house; a search for outer-space will also match the result outer space. A search for outerspace, will be treated as a single word and only match that exact form.
Quick search is not sensitive to case, so you can enter your search term in lower-case or upper-case letters, and get the same result, e.g. entering conservative finds conservative and Conservative
In Quick search you can use the wildcards * and ? ? represents any single character
• c?t matches cat, cut, cot.
* represents one or more characters
•c*t matches cat, cut, cot, and also carat, clot, coot, count, etc.
In the dictionary list, subordinate entries are shown indented, under the headword within which they occur.
When an entry is displayed, the headword will be shown in the middle of the word wheel.
The Advanced Search can be accessed via the link beneath the main search box, or by the Modify Search link on a dictionary results page.
You are given a form in which you can enter text to search for in the box at the top. Extra rows can be added by clicking the Add row link, so that you can search for more than one term at a time, and combine them with Boolean operators from he drop-down list which will appear when there is more than one search box.
The Boolean operators with which two or more search terms can be combined are AND, OR, NOT, NEAR, and NOT NEAR.
AND: Using this operator between search terms retrieves entries or containing both terms
OR: Using this operator between search terms retrieves entries containing either of the terms.
NOT: Using this operator between search terms retrieves entries containing the first term but not the second.
NEAR: Using this operator between search terms retrieves entries or containing the first term within a 5 words of the second
NOT NEAR: Using this operator between search terms retrieves entries in which the first term occurs, and in which the second term does not occur within 5 words of the first.
To the right of the input box(es) is a drop-down list of regions for you to choose exactly which part of the entries you want to search.
A palette between the two boxes enables you to insert accented characters which are not on a normal keyboard.
Advanced searches are case and accent insensitive by default. Tick boxes beneath the search boxes can be used to turn on case sensitivity and exact character matching when required.
Below this search box area are three refinement options, Meaning, People and Places, and Subject, for you to choose categories you wish to match. Each has a Browse list associated with it, so that you can see the available categories and sub-categories. You can either click on a category to enter the term in the search box, or begin typing and the auto-complete will fill in the valid words for you. Only one selection can be made from each level.
It is also possible to refine your search further using one of the check-box groups to the right of the page, to specify Region, Usage, and Word Class. You may tick any number of boxes. Use the Search button at the bottom of the page to initiate your search, or use Reset to empty all the boxes and start again.
If there is one result for your search, the entry display will open automatically, with the match-point highlighted if it is not at the top of the entry.
If there is more than one result, a Results list is displayed.
If there are no results, you are offered a number of links to suggested entries. The size of the text can be increased or decreased using the letter “A” icons at the top right of the entry display panel.
The number of results is listed at the top of the page. At the bottom of the page you can choose the number of results to list per page; the default number is 10. You can also enter a number in the Jump to page box to move to a different place in the list, or click on one of the listed page numbers.
Each of the results consists of a headword and a snapshot of the matching part of the entry. Beneath the headword is a blue barcode indicating the size of the entry, with a vertical red bar showing the relative position of the match within the entry. Click any headword to go to that entry, open at the match-point.
Beneath each result line is a Save entry link which will save it in your personal My Searches area (see section 11 below.) You can modify the search or do a new by using the links in the middle panel.
Some entries also have a Go to thesaurus entry link beneath the result line, which takes you to the corresponding entry in the thesaurus.
The results are listed in order of relevance (starting with main headwords), but you can choose to list them in alphabetical (A–Z) order, using the Sort by options at the top of the list.
When a results list is displayed, from either search or browse, you can narrow down any the list by selecting a category from one of the six refinement options in the middle panel: Meaning, Subject, People and Places, Usage, Region, and Word Class. (These are the same as those listed on the homepage.) When you select a category, its sub-categories are shown, and when you choose one by clicking, the results list is updated. The chosen facets are also added to the You’re browsing list in the middle panel, from where you can remove them one by one using the cross, or you can choose to Clear all.
The area above the refinement options records your search term and any filtering criteria you have applied. Here you can clear the filtering by using the cross beside each line you have refined on, or by using the Clear all option. You can also save or modify the search, or choose to run a new search. Clicking the Modify search link will take you to the Advanced Search form for more detailed refinement options.
The results of a thesaurus search are shown as a tabbed set, divided into headword matches, synonym matches, and antonym matches. Each tab shows the number of results that are listed on the page beneath.
When a tab is selected, a statement of the number of entries being displayed can be seen at the top of the list. The number of items per page, or the page displayed, can be changed using the options at the bottom of the page. The displayed list can be sorted alphabetically or by relevance, using the controls at the top right of the page.
Each result line shows a fragment of text with the term which matches the search highlighted. Below each line are links to Go to either the thesaurus or the dictionary entry.
The size of the text can be increased or decreased using the letter “A” icons at the top right of the entry display panel.
If you have arrived at an entry via a results list, you can return to the list, or go directly to the previous or next result, using the links in the green bar at the top of the panel.
The headword is displayed in orange at the top of the entry. In the World English dictionary, an indication of the correct place for line-breaks can also be shown, and in the US dictionary the point at which the syllables should be divided can be shown, by means of the on/off switch on the same line as the pronunciation.
A loud-speaker icon immediately to the right of the pronunciation allows you to hear the word spoken: see section 5 Audio pronunciations below for more technical advice on using this feature.
Associated phrases and derivatives are shown at the end of the entry in a green tinted panel, followed by the origin of the word. Any usage notes will appear beneath the origin; a link in the middle column will take you straight to these. These might be any of Usage, Easily confused words, Spelling rule, Spelling help, Spelling tip, or Grammar.
As you move the mouse pointer over the entry, individual sense units are highlighted in a blue box. In the case of main senses, and some phrases and derivatives, options also appear on the right to show More or Fewer examples, and to show Synonyms and Categories.
Extra illustrative examples are pulled in from the Example sentences section of the site, when the More/Fewer examples link is clicked.
Synonyms of the headword which are listed in the thesaurus can be viewed by placing the mouse pointer over the Synonyms link and clicking, when a pop-up will appear with a list. You can go to the dictionary entry for any word coloured blue in the list by clicking it, or you can use the View thesaurus entry link in the box to see the whole thesaurus entry corresponding to the current headword.
Clicking the Categories link will give a pop-up indicating all the headings under which a word is classified, shown as a breadcrumb trail with nodes. Clicking one of these nodes will produce a full list of words for that category and level. Simply click the cross in the top right-hand corner of these boxes to close them.
If an entry is longer than the screen size, a grey internal scroll bar appears at the right-hand side, which allows you to move up and down the entry by clicking any point within it. If you pause the mouse pointer over the bar at any point, a tool-tip will appear showing you the sense number and beginning of the definition text at that point.
The middle panel may contain any of these links and extra information about the entry:
A usage note: this link will take you directly to the bottom of the entry where any extra information about usage of the word will be displayed.
A link to view the corresponding thesaurus entry
A link to run a full text search for the entry word: this will search for your word not only as a main or subordinate headword, but will also find examples that occur anywhere in the body of other entries
A link to see all example sentences for the entry: this will take you to the Example sentences section of the website, showing all sentences which illustrate the use of the word you have displayed A link to related material in the Writing Skills section
A link to look up the word in the Oxford English Dictionary Online : this will take you to the OED Online web site, where the full history of the word’s development in English can be seen
A link to look up the word in Oxford Language Dictionaries Online: this link will show you which dictionaries you have access to on our bi-lingual dictionaries site, and you can select one to search.
The headword is displayed in orange at the top of the entry. The body of the entry is divided into senses, each showing a different sentence using the headword, followed by synonyms and antonyms of the headword when used in that sense.
A View dictionary entry link beneath each sense will take you to the dictionary definition corresponding to that sense.
Many of the words in the thesaurus entries are themselves links which will take you to the dictionary entries. If you move the mouse pointer over one of these, a pop-up with a brief definition and a link to view the full entry will appear.
Any usage notes will appear at the bottom of the entry; a link in the middle column will take you straight to these. These might be any of Word toolkit, Easily confused words, Word links, Choose the right word, Word note, Word spectrum, or Usage.
In the panel in the middle of the page there are also further options:
View dictionary entry takes you to the corresponding dictionary entry.
See all example sentences takes you to the Example sentences section of the site, with examples for the word displayed.
Lists of synonyms and antonyms of the displayed word are also offered, and clicking any link takes you to the dictionary entry for that word. The More link below each of these takes you to a full Thesaurus search result page open at the relevant tab.
In the case of formal cross-references, which are displayed in small capitals,
Many words in the body of dictionary and thesaurus entries have their own definitions available, without your having to leave the page to see them. You can recognize these because they become underlined when you hover the mouse pointer over them. If you then single click the word, a pop-up box will appear with a short definition. If you want to go to the entry itself, click the View entry link in the box. Click the cross in the top right-hand corner of the box to close it.
For some words, the pop-up box will not contain a further link, as these are simple tooltips for understanding the word in context.
In the case of formal cross-references, which are displayed in small capitals, just single click on the word to go to the entry.
In addition, you can look up most other words in a dictionary or thesaurus entry, or in the Example sentences section, simply by double-clicking the word to launch a search.
Click on the blue loudspeaker icon to the right of a headword to hear the headword.
If you have difficulty in hearing the audio pronunciations, please see our step-by-step troubleshooting guide below.
1. Please make sure that sound is enabled on your computer, and that the Mute box has not been checked.
2. For best results, you should install Flash. If you do not have Flash installed, download the latest plug-in by clicking here.
3. If you cannot download the latest Flash plug-in, you should make sure that you have the latest version of whichever audio player is already installed on your computer. We recommend either QuickTime or Window Media Player. To download the latest QuickTime plug-in click here. To download the latest Windows Media Player plug-in click here.
Internet Explorer 6 and 7: check that sound is enabled: a) go to Tools and click on Internet Options; b) click on the Advanced tab; c) scroll to Multimedia and make sure 'Play sounds in web pages' is checked.
This section contains the Oxford dataset of examples of current usage. You can search for all examples illustrating the use of a particular word or phrase by typing your search term into the box and hitting Go.
A results list will be returned, with the number of examples found indicated at the top. The term you searched for will be highlighted in orange in the list.
Extra examples from this section can also be seen in the context of dictionary entries, by using the More examples links in the entries or using the link in the middle panel when an entry is displayed.
In this section you can search New Hart’s Rules, Pocket Fowler’s Modern English Usage (US Garner’s Modern American Usage), New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors, New Oxford Spelling Dictionary, and Oxford Dictionary for Scientific Writers and Editors.
You can click on one of the panels to start browsing that text, or use the search box in the left-hand panel, where you search all of the texts simultaneously, or choose one from the drop-down list above the search box. Type your search term into the box and hit Go. If a results list is returned, the usual mechanisms for sorting and displaying results apply. Click any match to go to that entry.
When you display a result within an individual work, an A to Z word-wheel or a table of contents appears on the left, depending on the organization of the work in question. This enables you to search further within that work. When a table of contents is presented, you can click on the plus sign beside any heading to see the sections beneath it; the content will be displayed in the main panel when you select a section.
This section has four areas: Grammar and Punctuation, Spelling, Style and Usage, and Vocabulary Builder.
You can click on one of the panels to start browsing that area, or use the search box in the left-hand panel, where you search all of the areas simultaneously, or choose one from the drop-down list above the search box. Type your search term into the box and hit Go. If a results list is returned, the usual mechanisms for sorting and displaying results apply. Click any match to go to that entry.
When you display a result within an individual area, a contents list appears on the left. This enables you to search further within that area by choosing a particular topic. Use the plus and minus signs to expand and collapse the list and see what is available.
The puzzles section offers a crossword and an anagram solver. Each of these has a maximum input of 20 characters.
In the anagram solver, enter the required letters into the search box and click Find anagrams.
In the crossword solver, you can choose the required number of letters from the dropdown menu. Enter the letters you know into the boxes, leaving empty boxes for the unknown ones, and then click Find Words.
The following tools are available:
Print – takes you to the print view of a displayed entry or search results list, which you can then print.
Email – offers a form for you to email an entry to another recipient, together with a brief message. This then sends a free link which is valid for three days, in order to allow temporary access to others who are not subscribers.
Save - allows you to save an entry or results list to your personal account. Clicking the Save link wil invite you to login if you have an account, or to set one up if you have not already done so.
You can sign up for an account that will help you to personalize the dictionary by clicking the Create My Oxford Dictionary profile link at the top right-hand corner of the screen. Once you have created an account, you can sign in using the link to its left.
Links to My entries and My searches are shown above the word-wheel. If you have not set up an account, these will just record your session history, showing recently viewed items from the current session when you move the mouse pointer over them. If you do sign up for an account, your history will be preserved across different sessions. You will be able to view saved entries and searches, name them, and organize them into folders, using the Manage saved entries/searches link at the bottom of the pop-up boxes. Clicking this will take you to a page with tabs for all these functions, and in addition you can set preferences for default dictionary and number of results to display per page. You can also change your email address and password here.