OXFORD ONLINE

The Oxford English Dictionary, or “OED” as its fans call it, is, by definition, so to speak, the last word in definitions. The printed edition — 20 large volumes in all — sells for $895 a set at OED.com until the end of January. We got ours a few years ago for $1,750 at Barnes & Noble ( www.barnesandnoble.com), but we notice they’re also selling it for the sale price now, or $805 if you’re a B&N member.

There is a two-volume set, the Compact OED, with type so small the books come with a magnifying glass, that sells for around $400. Or you can subscribe to the online version for an almost affordable $295 a year.

But if you go to OED.com, you can get the “word of the day” sent to you by RSS feed or by e-mail. That part is free. Be forewarned: these definitions usually go on for pages.

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