Cover image for The Canadian Oxford dictionary
The Canadian Oxford dictionary
Barber, Katherine, 1959-
Thumb index edition.
Publication Information:
Toronto : Oxford University Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
xvii, 1707 pages ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PE3235 .C36 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



We all use Canadian English every day: when we order a pizza "all-dressed", hope to get a "seat-sale" to go south during "March break", or "book off" work to meet with a "CGA" to discuss "RRSPs". Language embodies our nation''s identity, and The Canadian Oxford Dictionary, in its 1,728 pages,covers all aspects of Canadian life. Never before have Canadians been able to see their language, and themselves, so accurately and comprehensively described in a dictionary. The loggers of the west coast, the wheat farmers of the Prairies, the fishermen of the Atlantic provinces, the trappers ofthe North; Canada''s Aboriginal peoples, its British and French settlers, and the more recent arrivals, whether they came from Ukraine, Italy, South Asia or elsewhere - all have contributed to making Canadian English unique, and the dictionary thus reflects the great sweep of Canadian life. Itcontains over 2,000 distinctly Canadian words and meanings, more than any other Canadian dictionary, covering every region of the country. Whether you call your favorite doughnut a jambuster, a bismark, a Burlington bun, or the more prosaic jelly doughnut may depend on where you live in Canada, butthey will all be found in The Canadian Oxford Dictionary. Of course, this is not just a dictionary of Canadian words: its 130,000 entries combine in one reference book information on English as it is used worldwide and as it is used particularly in Canada. Definitions, worded for ease ofcomprehension, are presented so the meaning most familiar to Canadians appears first and foremost. Each of these entries is exceptionally reliable, the result of thorough research into the language and Oxford''s unparalleled language resources. Five professionally trained lexicographers spent fiveyears examining databases containing over 20 million words of Canadian text from more than 8,000 Canadian sources of an astonishing diversity. Inuit Art Quarterly, The Fiddlehead, Canadian Business, and Equinox; the work of writers such as Jack Hodgins, Sandra Birdsell, David Adams Richards, andPierre Berton; daily and weekly newspapers from across the country; and, of course, the Canadian Tire catalogue - all find a place in the evidence of The Canadian Oxford Dictionary. The lexicographers also examined an additional 20 million words of international English sources. For many Canadiansone of the more puzzling aspects of writing is trying to determine whether to use the American spelling or the British spelling. Should it be "colour" or "color", "theater" or "theatre", "programme" or "program"? By examining our extensive Canadian databases, our lexicographers have been able todetermine which, in fact, is the more common spelling: colour, theatre and program. Favoured Canadian pronunciations have also been determined by surveying a nationwide group of respondents. Oxford''s thorough research has also ensured that new words that have recently appeared are well-represented.So if you''re someone who puts on your "bicycle shorts" and "blades" over to the gym to do some "crunches" for your "abs" followed by work on your "lats", "pecs" and "delts", finishing up with a "step" class, because you''re afraid that being a "chocoholic" who loves "comfort food" will affect your"body mass index" and you want to avoid "yo-yo dieting", you''ll find all these common words in The Canadian Oxford Dictionary. An added feature of this dictionary is its encyclopedic element. It includes short biographies of over 800 Canadians, ranging from Elvis Stojko, Celine Dion and JeanBeliveau to Nellie McClung, Lester B. Pearson, and Kim Campbell. It also contains entries on 5,000 individuals and mythical figures of international significance, and almost 6,000 place names, more than 1,200 of them Canadian. Indeed, all Canadian towns with a population of 5,000 or more arefeatured, and their entries not only explain the origin of the place name, but also include the population based on the 1996 census. With the publication of The Canadian Oxford Dictionary, Oxford University Press adds another work to its highly respected range of dictionaries, and Canadians finallyhave a dictionary that truly reflects their nations.

Author Notes

Raised in Winnipeg, Katherine Barber attended the University of Winnipeg and the University of Ottawa. Her first job working on a dictionary was with the Bilingual Canadian Dictionary project at the University of Ottawa. In 1991, she was recruited by Oxford University Press to Head up theirnewly-created Canadian dictionary department. Being Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary has also brought unexpected fame to Katherine Barber. From the moment the project was announced, she has been conducting radio and television interviews, and for the last few years has had a regularspot on CBC Radio's "Metro Morning" show in Toronto.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Oxford has another winner on its hands with its latest entry in the dictionary marketplace. The new Canadian Oxford Dictionary (COD) is an instant classic. This is a well-researched, comprehensive study of Canadian English incorporating words and terminology from Canada's diverse ethnic cultures and its every region. From the surprisingly not uniquely Canadian eh to chesterfield, jambusters, pencil crayon, poutine, and squid jigger, COD explores, defines, and explains in classic Oxford English Dictionary manner--scholarly but not pedantic, clear but not simplistic--all that makes Canadian English unique. There is also an encyclopedic aspect to COD as it includes very short biographies of more than 800 well-known Canadians and 5,000 "internationally significant" individuals. More than 6,000 geographic locations and features, both Canadian and worldwide, are also defined, as are important historical events. Pronunciation of words is based on surveys and daily use. Does one pronounce schedule as "shedule" or "skedule" ? Either could be "eether" or "eyether." Spelling variations are also noted: theatre or theater, labour or labor. It must be noted that although this is meant to be a Canadian dictionary, with 2,000 uniquely Canadian words and uses, it is clearly international in its scope, with U.S., British, and Australian English also making up some of the more than 130,000 entries. The emphasis is on how terms and words would be used in a Canadian context. The work is the result of more than five years of research, using well-known Canadian lexicographers as well as experts in ethnic languages and their idiomatic use in Canadian English. Contributors and project team members are listed just after the table of contents. There is a short history of Canadian English and its growth and change from Loyalist American English and the evolution of Aboriginal, Inuit, and ethnic words into Canadian English. At the end of the dictionary are several appendixes: a six-page style guide; a list of all prime ministers and governors general of Canada; weights, measures, and notations; and alphabets in the Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, and Russian. The layout is easy-to-read and easy-to-use: two columns per page, with entries in boldface for ease of searching and boldface headers on every page. Pronunciations and examples of how a word is used in everyday language ensure a thorough study of any term or word. The seven-page "Guide to the Use of This Dictionary" is thorough and clear. This is a first edition and a completely new work for Oxford University Press. The Canadian Oxford Dictionary is a highly recommended reference tool for academic institutions that include programs in Canadian studies, or the study of the English language, as well as those U.S. public libraries found along northern borders. It can go almost without saying that every Canadian library--school, public, academic, and special--must have at least one copy of this indispensable guide to Canadian English on its shelves.

Library Journal Review

Canadian EnglishÄhistorically overwhelmed by British and American linguistic influencesÄcontains comparatively few terms unique to Canada. It comes as no surprise, then, that only about 2000 of the 130,000 entries in the this title are actually Canadianisms (e.g., "fishway," "outport," "pure laine," "riding," and "shit distributor"). Aimed at adults and older students, the Canadian Oxford also indicates preferred Canadian pronunciation and spellings; most of the rest of the lexical text, however, adheres closely to that found in the Concise Oxford Dictionary (1995. 9th ed.). The dictionary also includes brief entries for some 800 prominent Canadians and 1200 Canadian places, both useful encyclopedic features. The dictionary has two major competitors, the ITP Nelson Canadian Dictionary (Nelson Canada, 1996) and the Gage Canadian Dictionary (Gage, 1996). All three are reasonably current, similar in size (1700+ pages), and do a first-rate job of covering the small body of active Canadian English vocabulary, though the Canadian Oxford has a slight quantitative edge, claiming "almost two thousand Canadianisms, more than any other general dictionary." Most Canadian libraries will want all three, and larger U.S. libraries ought to have at least one, with the Canadian Oxford as the logical first choice.ÄKen Kister, author of "Best Dictionaries," Tampa, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.