Friday, August 3, 2007


Clipart courtesy FCIT

Did you know the month of August was named after a Roman emperor? Did you also know the word “august” can be an adjective meaning to inspire awe, admiration, and majesty? To discover how the word “august” has evolved over the centuries, check out the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), an authoritative and historical dictionary on the English language over the last millennium:

1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and click on Articles & Databases. You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to get into the databases from outside the Library.

2. Under the Categories side bar heading on the left, click “Encyclopedias and Dictionaries,” then click on the Oxford English Dictionary.

3. In the search box, enter “august” and click “Find Word.”

4. Click on any of the links to access the noun, adjective, or verb definitions of the word “august.”

With the online version of the OED, you can explore the pronunciation of over half a million words from the past and present, examine how a particular word was used in history and literature over a specific time period, trace its linguistic origin, and see how its spelling and usage has evolved over time.

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