Oxford English Dictionary
- Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is separate to Concise Oxford Dictionary (COD), Oxford Dictionary of English (ODE) and Oxford Dictionaries Premium (ODP).
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is a set of twenty volumes of printed dictionaries representing the principal historical dictionary of the English language. It was the main prize awarded to series champions of Countdown up to and including Series 83, after which the prize was axed due to the books being considered out of date.
The prize, worth approximately £4,000, was on display in each series grand final. In the grand final of Series 1, Joyce Cansfield was awarded thirteen volumes. Series 31 champion David Acton refused the prize on the grounds of strict veganism, instead opting for a CD-ROM version. The books were leather-bound and gold-leaved until Series 63.
As the OED is a historical dictionary rather than a "living" dictionary, it is never used for adjudication for the letters games on Countdown (nor the OED website), which has always favoured shorter Oxford resources for word game purposes and television convenience. Historically, the show began using the Concise Oxford Dictionary (COD) before replacing it with a larger book, the Oxford Dictionary of English (ODE), in 2000. Countdown currently uses Oxford Dictionaries Premium (ODP) on a laptop, which also replaced the pencam; ODP is updated annually and contains words than cannot be found in the COD, OED nor ODE.