The Canadian Oxford High School Dictionary


1262 pages
ISBN 0-19-541490-X
DDC j423




Edited by Katherine Barber

Susannah D. Ketchum, a former teacher-librarian at the Bishop Strachan
School in Toronto, serves on the Southern Ontario Library Services


Aimed at students 14 years old and up, The Canadian Oxford High School
Dictionary boasts over 78,000 entries, including 1500 uniquely Canadian
definitions, 400 regionalisms, and “over 300 entries pertaining to
Canadian Aboriginal peoples.” Appendixes deal with points of grammar.
Other notable features include writing tips, spell/grammar checks, and
an excellent section titled “How to use this dictionary.” Where
necessary, Oxford gives phonetic transliterations. While transliteration
can be imprecise (the pronunciation of coureur de bois appears as “coo
RUR duh BWAH”), most students will find it much easier than the
cumbersome and—to them at least—arcane phonetic alphabet.

High-school English teachers, when asked for dictionary criteria,
listed “etymology, synonyms and context, but the greatest of these is
context.” Oxford provides over 25,000 illustrative examples, including
phrases that use the keyword; synonyms are not given, but there are many

The dictionary disappoints in only two ways. First, it omits most of
the coarse slang that the parent dictionary did such an outstanding job
of identifying. Second, although the binding appears sturdy, the gutters
are appallingly narrow. Quibbles aside, this is an essential resource
for high-school students, advanced ESL learners, and anyone who wants a
portable Oxford. Highly recommended.


“The Canadian Oxford High School Dictionary,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 27, 2024,