1. Welcome
  2. Logging in
  3. Home page
  4. Quick start
  5. The entry display
  6. Audio pronunciations
  7. Searching
  8. Results
  9. Browsing
  10. More on this word
  11. The Oxford Language Web
  12. Downloadable toolbars
  13. Technical information

Site Help

1.  Welcome

Welcome to the Help for Oxford Language Dictionaries Online (OLDO). This user's guide contains all you need to know about using OLDO.

1.1.  Site help

This Guide describes all the features you will encounter as you explore the dictionaries, in the order that you are most likely to meet them.

To find help on a specific topic click on the headings in the Table of Contents on the left or use your browser's find facility. Alternatively, you may prefer to read this Guide in full as a narrative introduction to the site.

You can access this Guide at any time by clicking the Help link in the top right-hand corner, or the Help link under the search box.

1.2.  Other resources

A number of other resources are available to users of the Oxford Language Dictionaries Online:

  • For general information about the Oxford Language Dictionaries, see About.
  • Our FAQs contain answers to your most frequent editorial, customer service, and technical questions.
  • The Tour gives you a visual insight into OLDO's features.
  • For an update on the most recent developments on the site, see What's new.
  • If, after consulting these pages, you still have further comments, questions, or technical queries about using the site, contact our customer service desk.

2.  Logging in

You, or your library or an institution to which you are affiliated, must have a current subscription to log in to the Oxford Language Dictionaries Online.

For information about subscribing to OLDO, click here.

2.1.  With user name and password

If you have your own subscription to the Oxford Language Dictionaries Online, type your user name and password in the login fields at the top right of the site.

Your password is case-sensitive.

If you have problems logging in, or have forgotten your password, please consult Subscriber services.

2.2.  With Athens/Access Management Federation

If you have an Athens account or you are at an institution using an Access Management Federation please select your institution from the drop down list provided. If your institution is not listed or you have any other questions please contact us:

2.3.  With your library card

Some libraries allow remote access to websites to which they subscribe. Your librarian can tell you if that option is available to you.

If your library does allow remote access, enter your library card number in the Library Card field on the home page. If you encounter difficulties entering the site using your library card number, please consult your librarian.

2.4.  Problems

If you are not a subscriber and tried to follow a cross-reference from one of the Word of the Day, please use your browser's back button to return to what you were reading.

If you still have a problem, contact your system administrator or go to Subscriber services.

2.5.  Timing out

Every time you log in to the Oxford Language Dictionaries Online you begin a session – a period during which the subscription system recognizes you as a user. If you log out, close your browser, spend some time in the public pages of the site, or simply do nothing in the OLDO site for a while, your session will time out. If this happens, you will be asked to log in again.

If you are using your own computer, you can minimize the inconvenience by setting your browser to remember your credentials, for example by accepting the offer to remember your username and password.

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3. Home page

This section describes what you can see on the home page.

To start using OLDO straight away, you may prefer to go on to the Quick start section of Help.

3.1.  Site header

Across the top of the screen is the Site header which contains links to administrative and information resources. These appear on every page. 

  • Home returns you to the home page.
  • About links to information about the Oxford Language Dictionaries Online.
  • What's New is information about current updates and developments.
  • Subscriber Services provides help and contact details for questions about your subscription, and account management facilities for library administrators.
  • Contact Us tells you how to contact customer services with your feedback.
  • Help opens these Help pages. When you click on this link, you will go to the section appropriate to the page you are on.
  • Download Lookup Tools allows you to add an 'OLDO lookup' option to the Search menu or toolbar of your browser/Microsoft Office.
  • Log out ends your session.

    You can always click on the Oxford Language Dictionaries Online logo to return to the home page.

3.2.  Choose a dictionary panel

The OLDO dictionaries available for browsing and searching are shown here. You can view one dictionary at a time. The current dictionary is highlighted in blue.

To select any of the other dictionaries, click on it.

3.3.  Tools and resources panel

Follow the links to read information related to the current dictionary.

3.4.   Word of the Day panel

Follow the links to view the Word of the Day in each of the OLDO dictionaries.

3.5.  Search/Browse panel

The Search and Browse tabs switch between searching and browsing the current dictionary. Search is selected automatically.

Search enables you to run a search for a word anywhere in the dictionary, including translations and example sentences. See Quick search.

Use Browse to see the alphabetical list of the dictionary's entries. For more information, see Browsing.

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4.  Quick start

This part of the Guide is designed to get you searching and browsing with OLDO right away.

4.1.  Choose a dictionary

Your first task is to choose a dictionary. On the home page click on the dictionary you want (e.g. Spanish). The selected dictionary is the current dictionary.

You can also choose a dictionary by selecting it from the Translate box. See Choose a Language Section.

Please note: The number of dictionaries available for viewing depends on your user subscription. For more information, see Subscriber services.

4.2. Choose a language section

Each dictionary has two main language sections (e.g. Italian–English and English–Italian). Select the section you want from the Translate box.

The Translate box lists all the sections of all the dictionaries available for viewing (the number will vary according to your subscription). Use it to switch between them at any time.

switches between the two main language sections of the current dictionary. For example, if you are looking at the French–English section of the French dictionary, click here to switch to the English–French section. If you click it in Browse mode, the entries listed in the Word Wheel on the left switch to the new language. If you click it in Search mode when there is a term in the input box, a search for the term in the new language is automatically started.

All searching and browsing functions apply to the currently selected section only.

4.3.  Quick search

To find a word in the dictionary:

1. Click the Search tab if it is not already selected.

2. Type or paste the word you want to find in the input box.

3. Click GO or press ¿.

This basic procedure can be refined using a number of options. These are described in more detail in Searching.

A quick search will find occurrences of your word or phrase in 'Headwords' – in other words, in the main titles of entries, including compound entries.

4.3.1  Quick searching in Chinese

To search in Chinese, you can enter in the input box either Chinese characters or Pinyin (the standard system of romanized spelling for transliterating Chinese).

4.3.1.1 Searching by Chinese characters

To search using Chinese characters, you can either type or paste Chinese characters into the input box, or you can use the Radical Character Index to enter characters – the icon is just below the input box on the left, labelled "search by radical 部首检字表" (for instructions, see 4.3.1.3).

4.3.1.2 Searching by Pinyin

To search using Pinyin, you can either type or paste Pinyin into the input box, or you can use the Radical Character Index – the icon is just below the input box on the left, labelled "search by radical 部首检字表" (for instructions, see 4.3.1.3.) When typing Pinyin into the input box, to indicate the tones you can either use the character palette just below the input box on the right, which contains characters with Pinyin diacritics e.g. à, ǔ; or you can use numbers to represent the four tones (e.g. pīnyīn becomes pin1yin1, hànyǔ becomes han4yu3, and so on.)

4.3.1.3 Using the Radical Character Index

Open the Radical Character Index by clicking on it. The two tabs give you the default option of searching for a particular character BY RADICAL (plus the number of additional strokes), or the alternative option which is to search BY PINYIN.

For example: searching for 说 (or shuō):

BY RADICAL

1) To search for a character by its radical, you first need to select the radical. In the column headed “Radical Strokes”, click on the link that corresponds to the number of strokes in the radical for your character. (For example, for 说 the radical is 讠, which has two strokes, so you need to click on “Two strokes”).

2) In the column headed “Radicals” you will now see all the radicals with the number of strokes you have specified listed with a numbered link – click on that link. (Here, 讠 is listed as number 23, so in this case you need to click on 23).

3) The column headed “Additional strokes” will now present you with a list of numbered links according to how many extra strokes you need to add to the radical to create the desired character. (In our case, the radical 讠 needs an additional seven strokes to become the character 说, so you need to click on the link “Seven strokes 七画”.)

4) Finally, you will see a list of all the characters that are based on the selected radical that need the specified number of additional strokes. (You will have to scroll down to find 说, as it is the third character from the bottom of the final column.) Click on the white arrow in the blue box to the right of the desired character, and the site will automatically launch a search for it.

BY PINYIN

1) To search for a character by its Pinyin using the Radical Character Index, you first need to select its initial or starting letter(s) from the left-hand column headed “Letters”. (For example, 说 shuō starts with sh.)

2) The second column headed “Syllables” will now present a list from which you can select the correct Pinyin. (In our case, click on shuo.)

3) “Tones”, the third column, will offer all the tone variations available for that particular Pinyin word. (Here you need to select shuō showing the first tone.)

4) The final column, headed “Characters”, will display the character that matches the selected Pinyin. Click on the white arrow in the blue box to the right of the desired character, and the site will automatically launch a search for it.

4.3.2  Inputting Russian text

To enter Russian letters, switch to the Russian-English dictionary and just start typing in the search box. Your keyboard automatically adopts a Russian phonetic layout. For details on how to use this phonetic keyboard, see 4.3.2.1.

Alternatively, you can a) use the virtual keyboard just under the input box on the right; b) paste Russian characters from elsewhere into the input box; or c) install a Russian keyboard with a standard layout – see 4.3.2.2.

4.3.2.1 Using the Russian phonetic keyboard

Each letter on the keyboard matches a letter of the Russian alphabet. Sometimes more than one letter needs to be typed in combination in order to produce a particular Russian letter.

  • а – a
  • б – b
  • в – v
  • г – g
  • д – d
  • е – e
  • ё – jo
  • ж – zh
  • з – z
  • и – i
  • й – j
  • к – k
  • л – l
  • м – m
  • н – n
  • о – o
  • п – p
  • р – r
  • с – s
  • т – t
  • у – u
  • ф – f
  • х – x
  • ц – c
  • ч – ch
  • ш – sh
  • щ – shh
  • ъ – #
  • ы – y
  • ь – "
  • э – je
  • ю – ju
  • я – ja

4.3.2.2 Installing a Russian keyboard - standard layout

This standard keyboard layout is the default keyboard layout used in Russian-speaking countries. If your keyboard has a QWERTY layout you may find it useful to add stickers to each key showing the Russian letters.

These instructions are for installing a standard layout Russian keyboard on the following operating systems:

Windows Vista

XP/2003

2000/NT

Windows Vista

You will need to have administrative rights on your computer to carry out this installation.

1. Go to Start/Settings/Control Panel

2. Double-click Regional and Language Options

3. Select Keyboard and Languages

4. Click Change Keyboard

5. Click Add

6. Select Russian from the list and click + to see the available layouts (do NOT make Russian a default language)

7. Click on Apply

8. Click on OK

You will now be able to type Russian letters into the input box. To switch between Russian and English, use Left Alt + Right Shift (this combination can be changed under Advanced Key Settings).

Windows XP/2003

You will need to have administrative rights on your computer to carry out this installation.

1. Go to Start/Settings/Control Panel

2. Double-click Regional and Language Options

3. Select Languages

4. Click Details under Text Services and Input Languages

5. Click Add under Installed Services

6. Select Russian from the list and click OK (do NOT make Russian a default language)

7. Click on Apply

8. Click on OK

You will now be able to type Russian letters into the input box. To switch between Russian and English, use Left Alt + Right Shift (this combination can be changed under Key Settings).

Windows NT 4.0/2000

You will need to have administrative rights on your computer to carry out this installation.

Firstly, activate Cyrillic support by doing the following:

1. Go to Start/Settings/Control Panel

2. Double-click on Regional Options

3. Under the General tab, see Language Settings for the System

4. Ensure the box marked Cyrillic is ticked. If it is not, tick it and click on Apply. You will then need to insert the Windows 2000 CD-ROM.

Then do the following:

1. Go to Start/Settings/Control Panel

2. Double-click on Keyboard

3. Select Input Locales

4. Click Add

5. Select Russian from the list and click OK (do NOT make Russian a default language). Ensure that Enable Indicator on Taskbar is ticked.

6. Click on Apply. (You may need to insert the CD-ROM again and find folder i386.)

You will now be able to type Russian letters into the input box. To switch between Russian and English, use Left Alt + Right Shift (this combination can be changed under Key Settings).

4.4.  Results

If there is only one matching entry, it opens. If there is more than one result, the matching entries are listed on the Results page(s).

The number of results appears at the top of the page. The results are listed in the main part of the page.

Each results consists of the name of the entry (the headword), followed by a brief excerpt from the part of the entry that contains your search term.

To view any of the results, click on it. The entry is displayed with the matching term(s) highlighted.

For more detailed information on viewing and searching results, see Results.

4.5.  Browsing

One way to find entries in a dictionary is to browse the Word Wheel (the alphabetical list of dictionary entries). Click the Browse tab to display the list.

  • You can browse the Word Wheel a page at a time, by clicking more at the bottom or top of the list.
  • Another way to find the word you want is to type its first few letters into the input box. The Word Wheel starts to move to the first matching entry as soon as you start to type.
  • To view an entry from the list, click on it.

4.6.  Quick searching from an open entry

You can also run a quick search on any word in any entry by double clicking on it. When prompted, choose the language section you want to search (e.g. French). A list of matching entries is displayed in the main window. If you chose to look up your term in the other half of the dictionary, this now becomes the selected language section.

4.6.1 Quick searching from an open entry in the Chinese dictionary – highlighting individual compounds within strings of Chinese characters

The Chinese dictionary has additional functionality that allows you to highlight individual compounds within strings of Chinese characters. If you double-click on any string of Chinese characters in an open entry in either side of the Chinese dictionary, you will be given the additional option to “split into words”. Selecting this option will show you the same string of characters on a new page, with any compounds highlighted in contrasting colours, and those compounds displayed as links underneath. This makes it easier to then look up those compounds in the dictionary.

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5.  The entry display

A. Dictionary entries are displayed in the centre of the site window.

B. Above the entry is the Options panel.

C. On the top right is a link to Tools and resources.

D. More on this word contains links to further information about the entry.

5.1.  The structure of an entry

A. Headword (the title of the entry). In the Chinese-English dictionary, any orthodox variants of simplified Chinese headwords are shown in parentheses for reference.

B. Pronunciation. Move the mouse here to display a brief pronunciation guide to this word.

C. Grammatical information on the word's part of speech. Move the mouse here for fuller part of speech information on this entry.

D. Examples of use.

E. Spoken pronunciation icon – click on the icon to hear the headword pronounced. (Please note: Mexican Spanish pronunciation is given on the Spanish-English dictionary.)

5.1.2  Entry Display in Russian - Grammatical information given after the headword

The following grammatical information is given after a Russian headword:

Nouns

The genitive singular ending and gender of all nouns are shown, e.g.

мóлот, а m hammer ... молок|ó, á ... nt milk

мóлни|я, и ... f lightning ... пья́ниц|а, ы cg drunkard ...

Other case endings are shown where declension or stress is, in relation to generally accepted systems of classification, irregular, e.g.

англича́н|ин, ина, pl ~е, ~ m Englishman

бор|ода́, оды́, a ∼́оду, pl ∼́оды, ~о́д, ~ода́м f ... beard ...

(But the inserted vowel in the genitive plural ending of numerous feminine nouns with nominative singular ending -ка is not regarded as irregular, e.g. англичáнка, g pl англичáнок.)

Adjectives

Only the masculine nominative singular of the full form of the adjective is shown. Endings of the short forms, where these are found, are shown in brackets in most cases, e.g.

глу́п|ый (~, ~а́, ~о, ∼́ы́)...

The neuter and plural short form endings are omitted where stress is as for the feminine, e.g.

нау́ч|ный, (~ен, ~на) ...

Verbs

Endings are shown of the 1st and 2nd persons singular of the present tense (or of the 1st person only of verbs with infinitive ending -ать, -овáть, -ять, -еть which retain stem and stress unchanged throughout the present tense), e.g.

говор|и́ть, ю́, и́шь...

чита́|ть, ю...

Other endings of the present tense and endings of the past tense are shown where formation or stress is irregular, e.g.

ид|ти́, у́, ёшь, past шёл, шла ...

бер|е́чь, егу́, ежёшь, егу́т, past ~ёг, ~егла́ ...

Participles and gerunds, and forms of the passive voice, are not shown unless they have special semantic or syntactical features.

If a past participle passive has an adjectival homonym with the same or similar meaning (as a rule, a participle has a word or words syntactically related to it, whereas an adjective does not), these homonyms are given as a single entry. In such cases, if the endings of the short forms of the participle and adjective differ, this is shown e.g.

запу́тан|ный, (~, ~а) ppp of запу́тать and adj (~, ~на)...

Verbal aspects: the imperfective aspect is normally treated as the basic form of the simple verb, a cross reference to the relevant form being shown in brackets, e.g.

чита́|ть, ю impf (of про~, проче́сть) ...

The corresponding entries are:

прочита́|ть, ю pf of чита́ть

про|че́сть, чту́, чёшчь, past ~чёл, ~члá = ~читáть

In the case, however, of compound verbs formed by means of a prefix, the perfective aspect is treated as the basic form, e.g.

заш|и́ть, ью́, ьёшь pf (of~ива́ть) ...

Prefixes and Combining Forms

A number of prefixes and combining forms are shown as separate entries, e.g.

без... pref in-, un-, -less.

гидро... comb form hydro-.

5.2.  Display options

The Options panel just above the entry gives you some display choices. By default all examples, idioms, and phrasal verbs are displayed in full. You may opt not to display any or all of these.

5.2.1.  Outline/full view

Click here to switch between full and outline views.

Full view: shows all the senses of the word in full.

Outline view: collapses the senses so you can see more translations at a glance.

5.2.2.  Collapsing and expanding parts of an entry

Click on the / icon next to part of an entry to toggle between displaying it in full or in limited form.

5.2.3.  Show/hide options

Click Show/hide options and click on one or more of Examples, Idioms, or Phrasal Verbs to display them in limited form.

The choices you make apply to the current entry only. The next time you open an entry they will all be displayed in full.

5.3.  Looking up cross-references

5.3.1.  Explicit cross-references

Some entries are linked to the supplementary information such as lexical, usage, or cultural notes. Click on a link to follow it.

5.4. Printing an entry

To print the current entry, click Print. The entry is printed out in full regardless of the display options chosen on screen.

5.5. Citing an entry

Click Cite to display a page containing a citation to the current entry in two common formats: MLA and Chicago. The citations can be cut and pasted directly into academic work.

This page also contains some links to tools enabling you to export citations to personal citation management packages in the following formats: EndNote, ProCite, ReferenceManager, and RefWorks.

5.6. Sending an email link

To send an email link to the current entry or search results list to someone else (regardless of whether they have an OLDO subscription), click Email. Fill in the details as appropriate. The email will contain a link to the current entry/results list only, which will be valid for the next two weeks.

5.7. Refreshing a link

When you move from one part of OLDO to another the URL in the browser address bar is not always updated automatically. To display the current URL at any time, click the Link option.

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6.  Audio pronunciations

OLDO offers audio pronunciations for most headwords across all languages, including native speaker recordings for both British and American English.

Click on the blue soundwave icon to the right of a headword to hear the headword.

OLDO will play audio pronunciations using Flash (if installed, and if JavaScript is enabled) as this gives best results. If Flash has not been installed, OLDO will use your default audio player instead, and open up a separate pop-up window. Please note: if the soundwave icon is displaying on a separate line, along with 'hear this word', then you may need to reinstall the latest version of Flash Player.

If you have difficulty in hearing the audio pronunciations, please see our step-by-step troubleshooting guide below. (Please note: we currently offer Mexican Spanish pronunciations only on the Spanish-English dictionary.)

6.1 Audio pronunciations: step-by-step troubleshooting guide

1. Please make sure that sound is enabled on your computer, and that the Mute box has not been checked.

2. For best results, you should install Flash. If you do not have Flash installed, download the latest plugin by clicking here.

3. If you cannot download the latest Flash plugin, you should make sure that you have the latest version of whichever audio player is already installed on your computer. We recommend either QuickTime or Window Media Player. To download the latest QuickTime plugin click here. To download the latest Windows Media Player plugin click here.

4. If you still cannot hear any sound, you may need to change some options in your browser. Follow the instructions that relate to your particular browser below.

Firefox 3: check that JavaScript is enabled. a) go to Tools and click on Options; b) click on the Content tab; c) check 'Enable JavaScript'.

Internet Explorer 6 and 7: check that sound is enabled. a) go to Tools and click on Internet Options; b) click on the Advanced tab; c) scroll to Multimedia and make sure 'Play sounds in webpages' is checked.

Safari 3: check that plugins and JavaScript are enabled. a) go to Preferences and click on the 'Security' tab; b) under 'Web Content', check to 'Enable plugins' and 'Enable JavaScript'.

7.  Searching

The basic search procedure is always the same. Make sure the dictionary you want is open at the right language section and then:

1. Click the Search tab if it is not already selected.

2. Type or paste the word you want to find in the input box.

3. Click GO.

The results are listed on the Results page. Click on a result to display it.

This basic search will find occurrences of your word or phrase in 'Headwords' – in other words, in the main titles of entries, including compound entries. For example, a search for mouse will return entries such as mouse mat, house mouse, mice, etc. in addition to mouse.

There are a number of options which can make the basic search procedure more specific. They allow you to:

  • search for phrases as well as single words
  • search for accented and non-roman characters
  • refine your search using wildcards
  • use filters to search headwords only or the full text of the dictionary, or to search for a part of speech, level of formality, and/or geographical variant.

7.1.  Searching for a phrase

To find a phrase (e.g. rain cats and dogs), switch the default search to 'Key Fields', and enter the phrase in the input box surrounded with double inverted commas ("rain cats and dogs").

Stopwords

Stopwords are very common words (e.g. a, an, of, the in English) and are automatically ignored in a standard search unless they are the title of a dictionary entry. If you want to search for what you think may be a stopword place your search term in inverted commas.

7.2.  Upper and lower case

Enter your search term in lower-case letters, unless you specifically want your search to take case into account.

  •  Entering conservative finds conservative and Conservative
  •  Entering Conservative finds Conservative only.

 

7.3.  Special characters

You do not need to enter accented letters in order to find words which contain accents.

  • A search for cafe finds cafe, café, Cafe, Café, CAFE, CAFÉ.

However, you can enter them if you want to find a specific accented term.

  • A search for Café finds Café only.

You can enter special characters using the character palette just below the input box. Open the palette by clicking on it. Then click on any of the letters to paste it into the search box. The characters on the palette are specific to the current dictionary.

Special characters can also be pasted into the input box via Character Map, using the keyboard equivalents given in Character Map, by typing the Unicode characters, using Alt key codes, via a regional keyboard, or by pasting them into the input box from another source.

7.3.1.  Equivalency

In some languages, certain special characters may also be entered using their keyboard equivalents. For example, the German word Stängel may also be entered as Staengel. The following equivalents apply:

German
  • ä, Ä = ae, Ae
  • ï, Ï = ie, Ie
  • ö, Ö = oe, Oe
  • ü, Ü = ue, Ue
  • ß = ss, SS (Browse mode only, not available in Search mode)

French
  • æ, Æ = ae, Ae
  • œ, Œ = oe, Oe

Blind entries

The introduction of new spelling rules means that the German dictionary now contains some entries which use older spellings that are now incorrect. These entries contain links to their modern equivalents. If an old spelling is typed into the input box, OLDO automatically displays the newer, correctly spelled entry and gives an explanatory note.

If you enter an old spelling into the Word Wheel, the new entry is displayed, but the old spelling is highlighted in the Word Wheel.

7.4.  Wildcards

You can use the wildcards * and ?.

? represents any one character

  • b?t matches bat, bet, bit, and but.

* represents any one or more characters

  • b*t matches bat, bet, bit, but, and also boat, built, bullet, bed and breakfast, etc.

7.5.  Boolean operators

You can use Boolean logic to combine more than one term in your search, and to find terms near to one another.

The available Boolean operators are AND, OR, NOT, and NEAR.

Type the operators directly into the Find word field in capital letters. For example:

  • sand NOT sea

AND

AND finds all your search terms (e.g. sea AND land).

When you type more than one word into the Find word box, OLDO automatically assumes they are connected by AND.

  • Searching for sea land is the equivalent of searching for sea AND land. It finds entries which contain the term sea and the term land.

OR

OR finds any one or more of your search terms.

  • sea OR land finds entries which contain the word sea and entries which contain the word land, as well as entries which contain both.

NOT

NOT excludes a search term from your search.

  • sea NOT land finds entries which contain the word sea but not entries which contain the word land.

It's rarely advisable to use the NOT operator on its own, as it tends to generate very large numbers of results. NOT land, for example, would find every entry in the current dictionary section that does not contain the word land.

NEAR

NEAR finds terms within a few words of one another.

  • sea NEAR land finds entries that contain the word sea within a few words of the word land.

Nesting queries using parentheses

Parentheses (or brackets) can clarify a Boolean search, if you are using more than two search terms. For example:

  • (sea OR ocean) AND land find entries which contain the terms sea and land and entries which contain the terms ocean and land.

This differs from

  • sea OR (ocean AND land)

which finds terms entries containing sea or entries containing ocean and land.

7.6.  More search options

A search can be made more specific using the advanced search options (click More search options).

The four search filters allow you to refine your search.

  • To switch on a filter, click on it and choose an option from the drop-down list.
  • You can combine two or more filters in a single search, if you wish.
  • You do not have to enter a search term into the into the find word(s) box to use the filters. You can run a search purely on filters if you want (e.g. to find entries which contain exclamations and references to American English).
  • To switch off a filter after you have set it, choose its All option.

Once you have made all the choices you want, start the search by clicking GO.

The options available for each filter vary according to the selected dictionary and dictionary section.

7.6.1.  Search in

A standard search will find occurrences of your word or phrase in Headwords– in other words, in the main titles of entries, including compound entries.

If you want to widen your search, you can select either Key Fields, which searches certain key parts of the source language elements of an entry, including the headword, any variants of the headword, compounds, idioms, phrasal verbs, reflexive verbs, example sentences, and expanded forms of abbreviations..

If you want to search the full text of the dictionary, in both the source and target languages, including main translations and example sentence translations, select Full text.

Exact match

A standard search does not take case, accents, and special characters into account. It will find upper and lower-case, accented and unaccented matches for every letter you type. However, a search will take case and/or accent into account if you specially enter upper-case letters and/or accents in your search term. It will also do so if you click the Exact match checkbox. This is particulary useful if you want an exact match for a lower-case term, such as naive.

7.6.2.  Part of speech

To find entries which refer to a specific part of speech (e.g. pronoun), select the option you want from the part of speech filter.

7.6.3.  Level of formality

Levels of formality allow you find entries which contain terms that may be archaic, taboo, slang, and so on.

7.6.4.  Geographical variant

Some entries contain information about the geographical origin of a term. You can restrict the results of a search to entries with particular geographical information (e.g. Australian English) using this filter.

7.6.5.  Your search and browse history

To view a list of the entries you have viewed so far, click your search and browse history.

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8.  Results

If there is one result for your search, the entry opens automatically, with the matching terms highlighted.

If there is more than one result, a Results list is displayed.

If there are no results, you are offered a number of links to suggested similar or related entries, and some further options:

  • Choosing to widen your search repeats the search with the Search set to the next widest option (Key Fields if your initial search was a Headwords search; Full Text if your initial search was a Key Fields search).
  • Choosing to search the other side repeats the search in the other language section.

8.1.  The Results list

Each of the results consists of a headword and a snapshot of the matching part of the entry.

The results are listed in order of relevance (starting with headwords), but you can choose to list them in alphabetical (A–Z) or reverse alphabetical (Z–A) order, using the Sort by options at the top of the page.

The number of results is listed at the top of the page, along with the number of pages of results.

The standard number of results is 20 per page, but you can alter this (up to a maximum of 50) by clicking on Display x results per page, and choosing an alternative number.

8.2.  Modifying your search

When the Results list is displayed, you can modify your search using the options in the Search panel on the left. Your existing search term remains in the input box and the Search in, Part of speech, Level of formality and Geographical variant filters may be used to run a search as normal: see Searching.

8.3.  Printing results

To print the Results list, click Print.

8.4.  How are search results prioritized?

The default search on OLDO is relevance, meaning:

  • the headword exactly matching the search term (e.g. enfant on the French-English dictionary, if you searched for enfant) is listed first
  • followed by compound headwords containing the search term, usually beginning with compounds starting with the search term (e.g. enfant de l'amour)
  • followed later by compounds containing the search term elsewhere in the headword, for example at the end (e.g. lit d'enfant)

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9.  Browsing

To browse the alphabetical list of entries in the current dictionary section (the Word Wheel), click the Browse tab. The Word Wheel is displayed, starting with the first entry under A if there is nothing in the input box.

Browse the Word Wheel a page at a time by clicking more at the bottom of the list.

To find a specific word, type its first few letters into the input box. The Word Wheel starts to move to the first matching entry as soon as you start to type. When you have finished typing, the first entry in the Word Wheel opens automatically.

To view another entry from the list, click on it.

If there is a search term left over from a previous search in the find word(s) box, it is automatically pasted into the Browse input box when you click the Browse tab, and vice versa.

You can enter accented and other special characters using the character keyboard below the input box, just as you would in a search. See Special characters.

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10.  More on this word

Further information about the current entry can be accessed using the More on this word box.

10.1.  Links to Tools and Resources

Many entries are linked to usage notes and useful articles in the Tools and Resources area of the site. Click the relevant link in More on this word to access the relevant note or article.

10.2.  Links to Oxford Language Web

The right-hand panel shows translations into eleven languages for around 7,500 common words. Click on any blue hyperlinked translations to access the dictionary entry for that word. Click on See Language Web Display to go straight to the Oxford Language Web itself. For more information on the Oxford Language Web see 11.

10.3.  Lookup in Oxford Reference Online

If you also have a subscription to Oxford Reference Online (ORO), you can automatically look up a term in ORO by highlighting it and then clicking Find this word in Oxford Reference Online.

You are switched to ORO to continue the search.

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11.  The Oxford Language Web

11.1.  What is the Oxford Language Web?

The Oxford Language Web contains approximately 7,500 of some of the commonest words across 13 languages (see 11.3 for a list of languages included), including languages new to OLDO such as Polish, Arabic, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai.

The Oxford Language Web allows you to:

- translate single words between all 13 languages simultaneously, and to link to the full dictionary entries for these words (where a dictionary is available and you have subscribed to it)

- see the similarities and differences between languages and language families

11.2.  Where is the Oxford Language Web on OLDO?

When you log onto OLDO, you will see two tabs available at the top left of the screen. The default tab is DICTIONARIES, allowing you to search the six bilingual dictionaries available as normal. To go straight to the Language Web, click on the tab OXFORD LANGUAGE WEB.

Alternatively you can access the Language Web from any dictionary entry that has a corresponding Language Web entry. On the right-hand side of the dictionary entry, you will see a list of translations of the word you have looked up in other languages. Click on any translation underlined in blue to go straight to that dictionary entry. Click on See Language Web display to go to the Language Web itself.

11.3.  Which languages are included in the Oxford Language Web?

There are thirteen separate languages in the web, three of which display regional varieties where appropriate:

- English (British English and American English)

- French

- German

- Spanish (European Spanish and Latin American Spanish)

- Italian

- Portuguese (European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese)

- Russian

- Polish

- (Mandarin) Chinese

- Japanese

- Korean

- Thai

- Arabic

11.4.  How do I use the Oxford Language Web?

After you have clicked on the tab OXFORD LANGUAGE WEB, you will see a new window. At the top left is a drop-down box where you can choose your source language (language to translate from). When you select any language, the Word Wheel (the list of headwords down the left of the page) will switch to match this language.

Type or paste the word you want to translate into the search box (see 11.5 for specific instructions on typing in certain languages.) The Word Wheel will automatically start scrolling to match the word you have typed, and the translations around the web will change. The English translation always remains in the middle, displaying variants for British and American English where appropriate.

If there is more than one part of speech for the word you are looking up, then the Word Wheel will scroll to the first part of speech on the list – for example, play in English is both a verb and a noun; italiano in Italian is both a noun and an adjective; grego in Portuguese is both a noun and an adjective.

If there is more than one sense for the word you are looking up within the same part of speech (for example bank in English, Spiel in German, 看 in Chinese), then choose the sense you are looking for from the list of short definitions above the web by clicking on it. The web will change the translations accordingly.

Click on any translation in blue to be taken to the dictionary entry for that word.

Click on the language name in blue above the translation to switch the Word Wheel to that language.

11.5.  How do I enter text in different languages?

English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Polish

You can type directly into the search box, using the character palette (immediately under the search box) to enter any accented characters; or you can paste text from other documents.

Russian

You can either type directly into the search box, using the character palette (immediately under the search box) to enter any accented characters; or you can paste text from other documents; or click here for instructions on how to install a Russian keyboard.

Chinese

The Chinese shown in the Oxford Language Web uses simplified characters only. The Word Wheel will only scroll to match Chinese characters – it will not match Pinyin. There are three ways you can enter Chinese characters: you can type Chinese characters using a Chinese input method editor (which you need to activate on your computer – if you choose this method, you will need to press the spacebar once to select the character and once more to start the Word Wheel scrolling). Alternatively you can paste text from other documents; or you can use the built-in Chinese Radical Character Index (immediately under the search box) to enter Chinese characters into the search box. Click here for instructions on how to use the Chinese Radical Character Index.

Japanese

The Word Wheel will only scroll to match Japanese script – it will not match romanized Japanese.

Kanji: You can either type Japanese kanji using a Japanese input method editor (which you need to activate on your computer); or you can paste text from other documents.

Hiragana and Katakana: There are three ways you can enter kana: you can use a Japanese input method editor (which you need to activate on your computer); or you can paste text from other documents; or you can use the built-in character palette (immediately under the search box). Toggle the ^ sign to switch between hiragana and katakana.

Korean

The Word Wheel will only scroll to match Korean script – it will not match romanized Korean.

There are three ways you can enter Korean script: you can either use a Korean input method editor (which you need to activate on your computer); or you can paste text from other documents; or you can use the built-in character palette (immediately under the search box).

Thai

It is currently not possible to search for Thai words directly, but they can be viewed via entering a search term in another language.

Arabic

The Arabic shown in the Oxford Language Web contains vowels. You can either type using an Arabic input method editor (which you need to activate on your computer); or you can paste text from other documents; or you can use the built-in Arabic keyboard (immediately under the search box).

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12.  Downloadable toolbars

Downloadable tools which allow you to search OLDO directly from another application are available for three platforms: Microsoft Office, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Mozilla Firefox.

Click the Download Lookup Tools in the site header. Select the option you want from the list and follow the instructions given.

Users of Firefox and Internet Explorer 7 can embed an option in their browser's search menu.

Users of Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 and 7 or Microsoft Word for Windows can embed an OLDO toolbar in their browser. Please note that the Word toolbar is not compatible with Word 2010, but should work with previous versions of Word.

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13.  Technical information

13.1.  Browsers, settings, and cookies

Will OLDO work with my browser?

Any modern browser should perform well with OLDO, although for best performance we recommend using Mozilla Firefox. Specifically, the site will work on a PC with Windows 95 or higher, using:

  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer 5 (released 1999) or higher.

For Mac users, the site will work on a Mac with OS9 or OSX, using:

  • Firefox
  • Safari.

What settings should I have on my browser?

Generally, OLDO will perform best with your browser's default settings.

To log into OLDO, your browser must be set to accept cookies. See Accessing the OLDO for more details.

To use many of its features you must have JavaScript turned on.

Use of cookies
Please note: you must have cookies enabled to access the Oxford Language Dictionaries.

What is a cookie?
Cookies are small files that we create to store information on your computer.
  • We do not use cookies to track what other sites you have visited.
  • We do not look at or track any personal or confidential information about you.
  • We do make use of cookies to enable authorization control for online subscriptions.
  • We delete all our cookies when you click 'Log Out' or quit your browser.

The cookies used in our system:
OLDO_DEFAULT: stores your default search direction
JSESSIONID: identifies your session to our computer

Text size
The site works best with your browser's default text size setting of medium, or a one step increase or decrease. It will also work reliably at larger text sizes.

At the very largest text sizes, some features in the navigation area at the top of the screen and in the grey navigation bar may have become so large that they are partially hidden behind each other. All these features will continue to work, so long as they are at least partially visible.

Screen resolution
OLDO is best viewed with a screen resolution of 1024x768, although it will also work at higher and lower resolutions.

Accessibility

Wherever possible, OLDO meets Conformance levels 1 and 2 of the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). We have tried to avoid the use of non-W3C formats, and have run Bobby validation for Priority 2 accessibility. Where we have not been able to make a particular feature more accessible, we have tried to ensure that it degrades gracefully.

Please contact us if you believe barriers remain.

Navigation using your keyboard
You can move around each screen by using your tab key to move from each area of the page to the next, and then each link, button or entry field on the page to the next. Shift + tab moves in the opposite direction. Dropdown menus unfold when you use the up and down arrows, and the return key acts as a mouse click: it will activate buttons and follow links.

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