[B-Greek] Oxford Latin Dictionary

John McChesney-Young panis at pacbell.net
Sat Jul 30 14:24:21 EDT 2005

Carl W. Conrad wrote:

> I do own a copy of the hard-copy OLD myself and am glad to have it,  
> but I think it is worth noting that I've heard loud voices (I really  
> can't ascertain anything about how many in relationship to how loud)  
> insisting that the OLD is NOT really an improvement over the older  
> Lewis & Short. 

It's unquestionably an improvement in certain respects, the most patent 
of which is that L&S is entirely based on editions antedating its 
publication in 1879.

Both a more extensive examination of the corpus from the time period 
treated and altered readings from superior critical texts have resulted 
in a respectable number of additions and corrections (although the OLD 
has also been faulted for not always using the best available texts of 
its time). The OLD also has much more extensive quotations in the 
lemmata, and the etymologies in the OLD have clearly benefited from the 
century of scholarship elapsing between the two publications.

However, I find L&S's hierarchical organization of definitions more 
intuitive; what Professor Conrad says about the distinctions made in 
word uses is true, and for scholars of Biblical languages the OLD's 
cut-off date of c. A.D. 200 makes it much less useful for any sort of 
Christian Latin, although the dictionaries of Blaise, Stelten, and 
Souter make excellent supplements.

If I absolutely *had* to choose between them I'd pick L&S, but 
(especially for classical use) I really wouldn't want to give up my OLD.

One final note on the (print) OLD is that for at least the last few 
years Oxford has held on-line sales about twice a year and the OLD has 
regularly been offered for $120 (L&S and LSJ have also usually been on 
sale). Those interested can go to the Oxford web site:


and sign up for notification in the "Never Miss a Sale" box in the upper 
right corner.

I've read that
> there's an electronic version of L&S at CETH that is viewable with  
> the DJVu plug-in.



*** John McChesney-Young  **  panis~at~pacbell.net  **   Berkeley, 
California, U.S.A.  ***

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