Mysterious absences from the online OED

In one short session, I have looked up three simple words that aren't fully defined in the online OED:

  • frog, meaning the indentation in one side of a house-brick (cognate with the indentation in a horse's hoof, which is mentioned)
  • swath, being an alternative spelling used in the USA for swathe, but perhaps with a slightly different meaning
  • lay, meaning a narrative song (associated with minstrels)

Is there a simple explanation for the absence of these words (and, I'm sure, many more)?


    • Both spellings are given for swath(e).
    • There's a full entry for lay n.4.

    Are you confusing the OED with the short selective Oxford Online dictionary?

  • Two thoughts, Harry.

    1. If you have a borrower's number from your local library, you might be able to access the OED online.

    2. If you have written documentation for the 'notch in a brick' sense of frog, you might think of sending it to the OED editors. Simone or one of her team could tell you how.

  • SimoneSimone admin
    edited May 13

    Hi @HarryAudus

    As @DavidCrosbie mentioned above, when there is enough evidence of a new word or sense, it can be considered for inclusion in the OED.

    Unfortunately, there are indeed gaps in the dictionary, so the editors are always very happy to receive leads on new word trends.
    You are very welcome to send your suggestion in by using this link for submitting suggestions to the OED.
    But as I mentioned above there would have to be sufficient evidence for a particular word for it to be considered.

    I hope this is useful, and many thanks for your feedback!

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