Can’t afford a subscription to the online OED? No problem, sort of, for the next few weeks—to promote the new BBC TV series Balderdash and Piffle, they’re providing free access at certain times, as this page explains:

Until 13 February, you can use the OED to look up any word starting with the letters featured in the programmes—or pick a quick link to see one of the words highlighted this week.
Any time until 13 February you can look up any words beginning with this week’s letter, or with any of the previous letters of the week.
For 48 hours after each programme (from 22:00 GMT on Mondays to 22:00 GMT on Wednesdays) you can look up any words, beginning with any letter, in the whole of the OED.

(Emphasis theirs.) Thanks go to Grant Barrett for the tip; be sure to take full advantage of this generous offer!


  1. So, does Portland (Ore.) have the only library system that offers free remote access to the OED online, or something?

  2. I would imagine most university libraries have free remote access for their students.

  3. Australian universities typically offer such access to OED online, including remotely.

  4. Thanks, Language Hat! I’ve set up an e-mail reminder so I don’t miss it next week. This should help me get to the bottom of redux!

  5. dungbeetle says

    Try your local liberal Library , many are doing it.

  6. Sadly, Balderdash & Piffle is a little bit rubbish. It’s nice enough – there was a fun segment on Polari the other week – but they play up this image of lexicographers and linguists as dusty, self-appointed keepers of the language. The presenter spends most of the time over-egging her frustration that they won’t accept various folk etymologies into the dictionary. Bit of a missed opportunity…

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