The Abecedary is a comic based on definitions and quotations from the Oxford English Dictionary. The OED is not limited to current words and usages. It also contains historical, obscure, specialized and nonce words. The definitions in the dictionary are deeply sourced; they tell a story about the English language and its spread across the world, carried on the tips of tongues and spears.

words, Words, WORDS,,
— @hamlet2b

Each Abecedary incorporates a definition, and an example quotation that inspires the illustration. The meanings of words are *~*๐–˜๐–”๐–ˆ๐–Ž๐–†๐–‘๐–‘๐–ž ๐–ˆ๐–”๐–“๐–˜๐–™๐–—๐–š๐–ˆ๐–™๐–Š๐–‰ & ๐–๐–Ž๐–˜๐–™๐–”๐–—๐–Ž๐–ˆ๐–†๐–‘๐–‘๐–ž ๐–˜๐–Ž๐–™๐–š๐–†๐–™๐–Š๐–‰*~*. The โ€˜correctโ€™ definition and the โ€˜properโ€™ usage of words is not fixed, but under constant renegotiation. The OED is a core sample library of the English lexicon. Each entry contains centuries of textual sediment showing the natural semantic drift of language. This feature of the dictionary animates the Abecedary.

The Abecedary is by Lyall Wallerstedt. Other work can be seen at The Oxford English Dictionary is online at, and full access is probably available through your local library. Follow the Abecedary on social media: