The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

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The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, first published by the Oxford University Press in 1941, is an 1100-page book listing short quotations that are common in English language and culture.

Quotations are also cross-referenced. For example, on looking up Napoleon's quotation about Britain being a nation of shopkeepers, one also finds Adam Smith, who said it first. Quotations about absolute power are cross-referenced to Lord Acton, and from him to William Pitt the Elder, who said something similar.

The dictionary has been jokingly called the Oxford Dikker of Quotaggers using the Oxford "-er".

The first edition in 1941 was compiled by a committee drawn from the staff of the OUP under the editorship of Alice Mary Smyth (later Alice Mary Hadfield).[1] She recounts some of the details of choosing and processing quotations in her book on the life of Charles Williams (one of the committee).[2] Later editions of the Dictionary were published in 1953 and thereafter, the 6th edition appearing in 2004 (ISBN 0-19-860720-2), followed in 2009 by the 7th edition, both edited by Elizabeth Knowles. (ISBN 0-19-923717-4)

See also


  1. Smith, Preface
  2. Hadfield, p. 114-115


  • Hadfield, Alice Mary. An Introduction to Charles Williams. London: Robert Hale Ltd., 1959.
  • Smyth, Alice Mary, ed. The Oxford Book of Quotations. [First Edition.] London: OUP, 1941.

External links