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COBUILD. [An acronym for Collins Birmingham University International Language Database].
1. A British research facility set up at the U. of Birmingham in 1980 and funded by Collins publishers with the aim of compiling works of reference and course materials for the teaching of English. Its director was John Sinclair, Professor of Modern English Language. The primary work of COBUILD has been the creation and analysis of a CORPUS of contemporary, mainly BrE texts, some recorded from speech. By 1985, this corpus had reached 18m running words, representing 260,000 word types, over half of which occur only once, and 2% of the types (that is, 5,000 different spelling forms) account for 87% of the tokens. The implication is that 87% of all English texts comprises some 5,000 words, which could be presented in a basic dictionary as some 2,000 entries.

2. An abbreviation and informal title for the Collins COBUILD English Language Dictionary (1987; 2nd edn 1995), a work derived from a study of the COBUILD corpus and primarily intended for foreign learners of English. It defines over 70,000 words, giving priority to the most frequent. Its definitions are generally supported by examples of usage taken from the corpus.