OED's Simpson to retire

John Simpson, chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary [pictured left] will retire in October after 37 years at the publication.

Simpson was promoted to chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary in 1993 and 60,000 new words and meanings have been added to the dictionary under his leadership. The team working on the Third Edition also grew from 25 to 70 in that time.

Oxford University Press said: “The OED is a living document that has been growing and changing for 140 years. Recognising the OED as a record of the evolution of our language, John Simpson instigated the OED’s first comprehensive revision, with every word in the dictionary scheduled for review to improve the accuracy of definitions, derivations, pronunciations, and historical and contemporary quotations.”

Nigel Portwood, chief executive of Oxford University Press, said Simpson’s contribution to the dictionary had been “truly outstanding” and he had pioneered the use of digital technology in production “transforming the dictionary into a resource fit for the 21st century.”

He added: “His achievements put the OED in a fantastic position to continue to thrive and to meet the opportunities in the ever-changing lexical landscape.”

Current editorial project director for the OED, Michael Proffitt [pictured right], will become the chief editor in November this year.