The Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition was edited by J.A. Simpson and E.S. Weiner. Published in Oxford by Claredon Press in 1989 as a 20-volume set.

BIP lists the set at a whopping $6000! For an annual fee, this dictionary is available online.

A typical question that would lead to this book being used is “I wonder where English ever got a word like “vulgar”? When was it first used in print? Has it changed its meaning over the years?”

As a print source it is 20 volumes, plus a 3 volume “Additions to the Second Edition, 1993 and 1997.
Online the complete 2nd edition, the 3 Additions, and new drafts for the proposed 2010 3rd edition are updated quarterly.

The purpose of this resource is to show the history of words, giving differences in meaning, spelling, pronunciation, and usage at different times in history.

Usually referred to as O.E.D. It includes over 600,000 word forms. Has over 2,500,000 quotations that are arranged chronologically, with the oldest occurrence first, within each entry. Each meaning includes a quotation from literature.

In volume 20, the bibliography enables the user to trace sources of quotations from the most frequently quoted of the 5,000 authors.

Intended audience is scholars and others who love the English language.

This dictionary pinpoints the date of the first appearance of each word in print.

Pronunciation is International Phonetic Alphabet. It is difficult for a layman,

LCSH: English Languages–Dictionaries

Thanks to cbustapeck I know know that has the list price as $3000 and their price as $895, new. The Library teacher at my college will be informed.