This paper revisits the issue of the opaque interrelationship between the English Dialect Dictionary (EDD) and the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). While work on OED3, the online version, has been in progress since 2000, the EDD was digitised in three phases between 2006 and 2019. EDD 3.0, with its sophisticated interface, was launched in April 2019. This paper ventures to question the OED’s policy of providing or omitting source evidence for some of its data. After a survey of the unequal aims and structures of the two dictionaries from their beginnings down to the end of OED2 (1989), the focus of the paper is on their relationship with regard to the two online versions, first as described by recent OED editors, and then by examining the interfaces. A quantitative analysis of the lexical variants attributed to Worcestershire in the two dictionaries is used as a test case to show that OED3 has borrowed more data from EDD (Online) than the OED entries attest and the ranking-list of sources misleadingly suggests. The paper critically analyses the OED’s practice of providing source evidence only for quotations, but generally not for (dialectal) variants.
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