Paris street

A rue by any other name… exploring the streets of Paris

David Parsons writes in his book on Shropshire place-names that street-names ‘reveal the layers of history in a place’ and ‘fill the imagination with the sights, sounds, and smells of the past if we attend to them.’ We learn, for instance, that a high street in Shrewsbury formerly went by the name of ‘gumbestolestrete’ – […]

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What is your least favourite English word? With our #OneWordMap you can now let the whole world know.

#OneWordMap: mapping the world’s least favourite words

Update: We regret to inform users that due to severe misuse we have had to remove this feature from our website. What if everybody in the world could answer the same question with a single word? It could be almost any question, so long as it could be answered with one word – revealing trends and […]

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Among the slips of paper Arthur Maling used for his work on the letter W are the wrappers for at least five different varieties of chocolate.

Esperanto, chocolate, and biplanes in Braille: the interests of Arthur Maling

The Oxford English Dictionary is the work of people: many thousands of them. In my work on the history of the Dictionary I have found the stories of many of those people endlessly fascinating. Very often an individual will enter the story who cries out to be made the subject of a biography in his […]

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Opinions are divided on the subject of ‘trigger warnings’—statements cautioning you that what you’re about to read, watch, or listen to might cause emotional or psychological distress.

You have been warned: the debate on trigger warnings

Opinions are divided on the subject of ‘trigger warnings’—statements cautioning you that what you’re about to read, watch, or listen to might cause emotional or psychological distress. For their defenders these alerts show sensitivity to the needs of vulnerable people; for their critics they’re a new form of ‘political correctness’, another sign that, as one […]

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Beyond ‘historical fiction’, very little shared vocabulary exists to describe even the most common of recurring types of Proper Fiction.

A rallying cry for more subgenres, please

Spend twenty minutes on Pandora and you’ll be told that you prefer folk-influenced indie rock with strong harmonies. Toss a few star ratings into your Netflix account, and they’ll offer you a near-endless supply of dark murder mysteries with a strong female lead. Somehow, though, the technology gods have not seen fit to bestow on […]

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Money talks not just in English but in other languages as well. Find out in which country people 'buy the pig in the bag' and other money idioms.

Cost in translation: money idioms around the world

Money makes the world go round – every day we use it, think about it, talk about it. It is therefore no surprise that English uses it in a number of idiomatic expressions as well, but money also talks in other languages. The people over at looked at some money idioms from other languages recently and came up […]

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Now a pronunciation editor, Matthew Moreland had the pleasure of being one of OED’s speakers periodically for a couple of years.

You can say that again! A day in the life of an Actor-Phonetician

At the end of last year, a mammoth update meant that OED subscribers can hear words spoken aloud for the first time, in both British and American accents. Little triangles  have appeared next to the transcriptions, and can be clicked to hear the word. It’s now quicker and easier than ever before to find out […]

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different ways to say hello in other languages

15 ways to say ‘hello’ across the globe

The main use of hello is, of course, to greet others, and it has many other variants which also are used to greet others, such as hi or hey. The first written recording of this spoken utterance was in 1853 in New York Clipper, ‘Hello ole feller, how are yer?’ ‘Hello’ is also used to […]

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