Attention, logophiles! We invite you to visit the Frick Art Reference Library and The Museum of Modern Art Library to acquaint yourself with the Oxford English Dictionary Online (OED). Logophiles, or lovers of words, will be pleased to know that the OED is replete with more than 600,000 entries that include contemporary meanings of words as well as their corresponding chronological history and evolution. The OED includes great ways to learn how to get the most out of this online dictionary, including quizzes for those who are up for the challenge.
For example, Quiz 1 includes the following question:
When did “mobile phone” first enter the English language?
Any guesses? No worries. Hints are included with the questions. Spoiler alert! According to the OED’s entry for “mobile phone,” the first usage of the word dates to 1945 and can be found in the periodical Yank: The Army Weekly.
"They say the mobile phone will enable Doc Jones to start out on his round and keep in touch with his nurse back in the office."
Interestingly, the next usage example comes from a 1965 issue of Newsweek and refers to the seemingly tech-savvy populace of NYARC’s home base, the city of New York.
"There is a pocket of mobile phone owners in New York but the fad hasn't yet caught on in other cities."
The database also allows you to browse through categories of words, whereupon you will find more than 16,000 words relating to the arts. Use of this database will surely increase your odds of winning your favorite word game, as well as improve your execution and understanding of the English language.
Please feel free to contact us with questions or to schedule an appointment to learn how this database can be used to its fullest potential.
Elizabeth Lane, Assistant Reference Librarian, Frick Art Reference Library
Image (above): Hollywood is a Verb, Edward Ruscha (American, born 1937)