Tolkien Gateway

Oxford English Dictionary

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"Tolkienian, a. Of or pertaining to the philologist and author of fantasy literature John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973) or his writings."
― Oxford English Dictionary[1]

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED), or New English Dictionary as it was called at its initiation, is the standard English dictionary. J.R.R. Tolkien spent several years as an assistant, and several of his own words and works would be cited in it.

Early History

The dictionary-project started in 1878, orignially not as part of the University of Oxford, which took over the project later. The sections covering A-H were published by 1900, but both the war and the death of Sir James Murray, the original editor, in 1915 ment that the section U-Z was not complete yet[2]. After Murray's death, three editors remained: Henry Bradley, William Craigie, and C.T. Onions. Most of their assistants had gone to war and not returned (either not to the Dictionary or not at all), so new assistants were necessary[3].


  1. OED Online, "Tolkienian, a."
  2. Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, "2: Oxford Interlude"
  3. Peter Gilliver, Jeffrey Marshall and Edmund Weiner, The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary, "Tolkien as Lexicographer"

External links