It’s not known precisely where the words coffee, café, or caffé ultimately got their meaning, though coffee entered English from the Turkish kahveh, from the Arabic qahwa, probably via the Dutch koffie.

An aromatic journey into the language of coffee

The coffee plant itself might well have been discovered in Ethiopia (as far back as the 11th century, no less) but chugging back the drink – or marching purposefully towards the office, one of those ‘almost-a-bit-pretentious-really’ cardboard containers in hand – has long been regarded as an ‘American thing’. And while, only a few short […]

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The sequel to 'The Hundred and One Dalmatians' is called 'The Starlight Barking'.

Book quiz: spot the sequel

Book lovers will definitely know about some sequels to famous novels. These can be in series – the sequels to the Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games books for instance – or initially unplanned. Much discussion was caused in 2015 when Harper Lee’s second novel, Go Set a Watchman, was billed as a follow-up to To Kill a Mockingbird (though we […]

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When you travel but don’t speak the local language at all, some situations can be quite frightening, and funny.

Tourists dealing with language difficulties

Hello and Konnichiwa to our Oxford Dictionaries blog readers. Today is World Tourism day, and we thought we’d ask our Twitter followers about some of their experiences with language whilst being a tourist. Needless to say, when you don’t speak the local language at all, some situations can be quite frightening, and funny… We picked […]

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The Australian English phrase 'dry as a dead dingo’s donger' is used to convey extreme thirst.

Donkey-voters and dead dingo’s donger: a new edition of the Australian National Dictionary

A new edition of the Australian National Dictionary has just been published, updating the one-volume, 814 page 1988 edition, with 10,000 Australian words and meanings illustrated by 60,000 citations, to a two-volume, 1864 page work, with 16,000 Australian words and meanings illustrated by 123,000 citations. Read on to discover what has been added, and why. […]

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In praise of profanity

Sometimes, people ask me, “What’s your favorite swear word?” I don’t know why. Also, I don’t know what to say. I’m interested in profanity but not especially invested in one word over another. It’s not a competition. They all have their uses, or we wouldn’t use them. I’d have to say something like, “Well, Fuck! […]

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The compound ‘clickbait’ dates back to 1999 and signifies ‘content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to particular web page’.

These words will change the way you think of clickbait forever

It started with assistant professor Laura Seay, who mused in a tweet: ‘Thinking of changing the weekly headings on my syllabi to clickbait. “You won’t believe this one thing Britain & France did to Africa!” Seay continued riffing on the idea, and then it clicked: #ClickbaitSyllabus. Twitter quickly took to her hashtag, clever parodying the […]

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Nikki's reading the entire Oxford Canadian Dictionary. In this latest instalment of our occasional series, she talks us through the letters D – H.

On reading the Canadian Oxford Dictionary: the letters D through H

As part of an occasional series, guest blogger Nikki (@exitsideway) talks us through her ongoing project to read every word in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary in under a year. Discovering the Interesting It’s been half a year that I have been vigorously getting to know the bulky companion I have come to call ‘Bertie the […]

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An introduction to fandom vocabulary

Shipping, headcanons, and OTPs: an introduction to fandom vocabulary

Though fan communities have existed in the forms of zines, email lists, and online archives for years—decades!—it is only recently that the world of fan creations has been exposed to the glaring spotlight of mainstream media attention. If you’re new to the world of fandom, the jargon may flummox you; but Oxford Dictionaries can help! […]

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