A Song of Ice and Fire quoted in the Oxford English Dictionary

Image: Game of Thrones/HBO
Image: Game of Thrones/HBO /

Early versions of what became the Oxford English Dictionary were first published in 1884. Ever since, it’s been the premiere historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford University Press these last hundred years and change.

The dictionary has evolved with the times, with the Oxford English Dictionary website being a thorough resource not just of definitions, but for pronunciations, etymology, and usage guides. That includes examples of how to use the word in a sentence, and sometimes the examples are drawn from unexpected sources.

That’s all a long wind up to revealing that A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin is quoted in the Oxford English Dictionary numerous times, which I found out thanks to a Reddit post from zionius_:

"GRRM quotes in Oxford English Dictionary (No Spoilers) byu/zionius_ inasoiaf"

The dictionary quotes several lines from Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books to help explain how to use words like “bastard sword” (“Jon clasped the hilt of the bastard sword with both hands and raised it high”) and “teat” (“I was leading Mace Tyrell’s van when you were still sucking on your mother’s teat”). There are also quotes from Martin’s interviews in there, as well as quotes from some of his other books like Fevre Dream.

The OED quotes lots of authors, in fact. According to zionius_, here’s the breakdown:

  • William Shakespeare: 33k examples
  • Walter Scott: 17k
  • Geoffrey Chaucer: 14k
  • John Milton: 12k
  • Wycliffe’s Bible: 10.3k
  • Coverdale Bible: 4.3k
  • King James Bible: 4.1k
  • John Dryden: 9.3k
  • Charles Dickens: 9.2k
  • Alfred Tennyson: 6k
  • Samuel Johnson: 5.3k
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge: 4.8k
  • Lord Byron: 4.3k
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley: 3.7k
  • James Joyce: 2.5k
  • Mark Twain: 2.5k
  • William Wordsworth: 2k
  • Jane Austin: 1.7k
  • William Morris: 1.5k
  • William Faulkner: 1k
  • Arthur Conan Doyle: 844
  • Virginia Woolf: 670
  • George Orwell: 611
  • Agatha Christie: 510
  • Ernest Hemingway: 472
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: 391
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald: 388
  • CS Lewis: 286
  • Stephen King: 259
  • Arthur C. Clarke: 68
  • Isaac Asimov: 35
  • J.K. Rowling: 17
  • George R.R. Martin: 11
  • Neil Gaiman: 9

Okay, so Martin is near the bottom of this list but it’s still in the world’s premiere dictionary over 10 times! Next stop: J.K. Rowling. Also, there are a lot of guys named William on this list. If you want to be an author, maybe head to the change-of-name office.

Whenever Martin gets arounds to publishing The Winds of Winter, perhaps he’ll have s’more entries.

Next. Game of Thrones voted most binge-worthy show in history. dark

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