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Taking forty-five years to finish a book project that almost no one will read in its entirety may seem . . . I don’t know, what’s a good word for disheartening?

oxford_thesaurus But Oxford University has been around for 913 years, which gives the school the patience to spend half a decade completing the world’s largest thesaurus. When it’s released this fall, the reference work will include almost the entire vocabulary of the English language.

Begun in 1965 and nearly destroyed in a fire in 1978, the thesaurus contains over 230,000 categories with 800,000 meanings. According to the BBC , the thesaurus was nearly completed in 1980, but the team decided to include words from updated versions of the Oxford English Dictionary.

One editor has been working on the project for four decades:

Professor Christian Kay, 69, one of four co-editors, began working on the book in the late 1960s when she was 27.

She said: “I didn’t think at the time I would be involved 40 years later.

“We started using Roget’s classifications, but it soon became apparent that wasn’t adequate, as it wasn’t detailed enough.

“Then we virtually started from scratch with a new system. That’s why it took so long.”

You can pre-order the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary from Amazon for the low price of $316.

(Via: CT2 )

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