Historical Thesaurus of English
The Historical Thesaurus of English (HTE) is the largest thesaurus in the world, conceived and compiled by the English Language & Linguistics department of the University of Glasgow. Primarily online, a print version was published in 2009 as the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary (HTOED) . The HTE is a complete database of all the words in the The Oxford English Dictionary and other dictionaries (including Old English), arranged by semantic field and date. In this way, the HTE arranges the whole vocabulary of English, from the earliest written records in Old English to the present, alongside dates of use. It is the first historical thesaurus to be compiled for any of the world's languages and contains 800,000 meanings for 600,000 words, within 230,000 categories. As the HTE website states, "in addition to providing hitherto unavailable information for linguistic and textual scholars, the Historical Thesaurus online is a rich resource for students of social and cultural history, showing how concepts developed through the words that refer to them."
Type of site
|Owner||University of Glasgow|
|Editor||Christian Kay, Marc Alexander, Fraser Dallachy, Jane Roberts, Michael Samuels, and Irené Wotherspoon (editors)|
|Current status||Version 4.21, since December 2016|
|Free for personal and non-commercial research|
|Author||Christian Kay, Jane Roberts, Michael Samuels, and Irené Wotherspoon (editors)|
|Working title||Historical Thesaurus of English|
|Subject||History of the English language|
|Published||2009 (Oxford University Press)|
|Awards||Scottish Research Book of the Year Award, Saltire Society Literary Awards, 2009|
|LC Class||PE1591 .H55 2009|
The ambitious project was announced at a 1965 meeting of the Philological Society by its originator, Michael Samuels. Work on the HTE started in 1965. On 22 October 2009, after 44 years of work, version 1.0 was published as a two-volume set as HTOED. It consists of two slipcased hardcover volumes, totaling nearly 4,000 pages.
Its second edition is currently in progress and work is released on the freely-available HTE website when available. In 2017, the University of Glasgow was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education for the HTE.
The work is divided into three main sections: the External World, the Mind, and Society. These are broken down into successively narrower domains. The text eventually discriminates more than 236,000 categories. The second order categories are:
- "Versions of the Thesaurus". The Historical Thesaurus of English. University of Glasgow. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- "Using Historical Thesaurus Data". The Historical Thesaurus of English. University of Glasgow. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- Woolcock, Nicola (6 July 2009). "After a 44-year labour of love worlds biggest thesaurus is born". The Times. London.(subscription required)
- Hitchings, Henry (23 October 2009). "Historical Thesaurus is a masterpiece worth waiting 40 years for". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "Home page". The Historical Thesaurus of English. University of Glasgow. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- Crystal, David (2014). Words in Time and Place: Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. vii. ISBN 0199680477.
- "UK | England | Oxfordshire | Forty-year wait for new thesaurus". BBC News. 6 July 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
- "Second Edition". The Historical Thesaurus of English. University of Glasgow. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- "Classification". The Historical Thesaurus of English. University of Glasgow. Retrieved 22 October 2014. An oversize, one-page listing of all categories in top three tiers is available for download here.
- "Search". The Historical Thesaurus of English. University of Glasgow.