Oxford English Dictionary guide 'may never be printed'

A man blowing a vuvuzela, a horn instrument
Image caption Vuvuzela is a new entry in the latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary of English

Publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) have revealed the third edition of its reference guide may never appear in print.

Eighty lexicographers began working on the book after the publication of the second edition in 1989. It is currently 28% complete.

An Oxford University Press spokeswoman said: "No decision has yet been made on the format of the third edition.

"It is likely to be more than a decade before the full edition is published."

She added that "a decision on format will be taken at that point".

"Demand for online resources is growing but large numbers of people continue to purchase dictionaries in printed form and we have no plans to stop publishing print dictionaries," she said.

The Press already publishes revised and new entries online every three months, with a new version of its OED Online website due to be launched in December.

The publisher produces approximately 500 dictionaries, thesauruses and language reference titles in more than 40 languages in a variety of formats.

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