The Word Detective


0120170313In today's episode, John Simpson describes how the OED got started in the mid-19th century. He relates how he joined the staff as a fledgling lexicographer in the 1970s, and was soon given the job of revising the dictionary entry for the word 'queen'.
0220170314In today's episode, John Simpson is put in charge of the New Words group, and starts to investigate the world of Rastafarianism. The poet Benjamin Zephaniah teaches him the fine art of skanking. We also learn some lesser-known English proverbs and about John's work on The Australian National Dictionary.
0320170315In today's episode, John Simpson describes how the OED became digitised in the 1980s and the Second Edition was completed.
0420170316In today's episode, John Simpson visits the USA and Japan for the launch of the Second Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary. We learn of the birth of his disabled daughter.
05 LAST20170317In today's episode, it's 1993 and John Simpson is appointed Chief Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. He finds himself in trouble with the British Potato Council for the inclusion of the phrase couch potato.