Video: ‘illicit’ or ‘elicit’

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esperanto

Should I learn how to speak Esperanto?

What is Esperanto? Esperanto is a constructed language, invented by Jewish-Polish eye doctor Zamenhof in the late 19th century. The story behind the creation of this language is linked to Dr Zamenhof’s hometown. At a crossroads of wars in Europe, the town was split among German, Russian, Polish, and Jewish communities, that could not get […]

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old newspapers

Q&A with OED contributor Fred R. Shapiro

One of the notable words in the recent Oxford English Dictionary (OED) update was the term African American, which was antedated to more than half a century before the previous earliest citation. The discovery was made by longtime OED contributor Fred R. Shapiro, a librarian at Yale Law School and the editor of The Yale […]

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black sheep

Grammar myths: among or between?

Bill and Mark swam among the sunken ships. Bill and Mark swam between the sunken ships. What’s the difference between soup, consommé, and broth? What’s the difference among soup, consommé, and broth? Two questions about the sentences above (you’ll find the answers at the end of this article): Do they have exactly the same meaning? […]

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fedora

Adore the fedora: what links an item of men’s headwear and a glamorous fin-de-siècle French actress?

Most sources agree that the fedora, the familiar soft felt hat with a curled brim and a creased crown, sported by heroes and antiheros alike in period TV and film drama—including Indiana Jones and Don Draper of Mad Men —is named after the eponymous heroine of the 1882 play Fédora, by Victorien Sardou, played in […]

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“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” - Albert Einstein

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father

WordWatch roundup: terrorism, father, inshallah, and bastard-trench

This series investigates changes in lookups for words and their meanings across OxfordDictionaries.com. The graphs are based on website data collected over a four-week period, and the accompanying commentary explores how news and other current events have influenced these word trends and sudden peaks in interest. terrorism The mass shooting on 17 June at Emanuel A.M.E. […]

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Video: ‘disinterested’ or ‘uninterested’?

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