I've answered several questions with a link to the OED. A few hours ago, I added an OED link to What language is this OED entry in?.

The OP said my link did not work for those who did not have access. Have I been uselessly linking to the OED in my answers?

Test: Does this work -- fag as defined by OED

  • 1
    Well I am landing on a generic page with a login overlay.
    – Helmar
    Nov 25, 2016 at 18:34
  • 3
    You need a subscription to see the entry.
    – Tsundoku
    Nov 25, 2016 at 18:41
  • 2
    I'd recommend using the free versions of dictionaries as far as possible so that it works for all. :)
    – NVZ Mod
    Nov 28, 2016 at 6:45
  • If you want to test for yourself, try browsing in privacy mode.
    – Golden Cuy
    Dec 7, 2016 at 9:48

1 Answer 1


Apart from a few occasions where they make it freely available, the online OED is available only by subscription.

Without logging in (or a valid login cookie) those visiting your link will get a login page. I am able to log in to OED, but without doing so I get the login page from your link.

The link will work for those who have already logged into OED (and thus have a valid cookie in their browser). I've just tested this by using my public-library* login in one tab and then clicking your link: I got the definition you intended.

That said, the link isn't useless. It's available to those who can make use of it. What OED's login policy means in practice is that you will need to quote what you need to make your point. Because of their login policy, which is designed to protect a revenue stream, you should quote only what you need.

* Local authorities in the UK run public libraries and as part of the service provide free subscriptions to many online resources, generally including OED. Mine is one such. It's also possible to purchase an individual subscription from OUP.

  • 1
    Of course, if the Government's cuts to library services keep coming, the UK is likely to end up gone or simply as non-staffed book collection points. See here and here. Nov 26, 2016 at 16:41

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