Cambridge dictionary vs Oxford dictionary

Cambridge dictionary vs Oxford dictionary

Cambridge dictionary vs Oxford dictionary

The rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge goes back centuries. The cities’ famous universities compete every year to reach number one on the global academic league tables.

Additionally, their rowing teams, rugby teams and cricket teams battle it out every year to see who comes out on top. What’s more, as @thegentsjournal points out, “Oxford has produced 48 Nobel Prize Winners, but the labs of Cambridge have supplied 89 – a world record for any university.”

Another area where the universities have long been in competition is the world of words. The dictionaries produced by the universities are both hugely influential and have shaped the English language for decades. If you’re a lover of etymology, you’re probably already familiar with the Cambridge and Oxford dictionaries. But which is really the definitive version of the English language? And what’s the difference between them? We decided to find out.



When it comes to definitions, Cambridge and Oxford take fairly different approaches. While the Oxford English Dictionary gives you the meaning of the word as well as its origin, the Cambridge Dictionary gives a more practical explanation along with an example of how to use the word in a sentence. This can make the Cambridge dictionary a good resource for those learning English, as well as for those who want to increase their practical vocabulary.



The Oxford English Dictionary is published by the Oxford University Press and the Cambridge version is published by the Cambridge University Press. While the Oxford University Press pips the Cambridge University Press to the post when it comes to size (the Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world), the Cambridge University Press is the older of the two.

Founded in 1534, it’s been active for almost five centuries and was the world’s very first publishing house. Once published, both dictionaries are shipped out to bookshops around the world. Both also have limited online resources available that learners are able to use for free.



Every year new words are added to both dictionaries. These words often give a good indication of current linguistic trends and make for fascinating reading for anyone interested in the English language. Words added to the Oxford English Dictionary in March 2019 include bampot, a foolish, annoying or obnoxious person, chuddies, short trousers or underwear, and fantoosh, which describes something fancy, showy, flashy and ostentatious. A large number of brand names and abbreviations were also added to the publication, showing how written communication and consumerism are impacting on the language.

Whether you’re interested in the history of English or in the changing face of the language, the Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries are a great place to start. Why not pick up a copy today and see what you can learn?