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Interactive quiz: how well do you know the language of film?

Hollywood doesn’t pay much attention to lexicographers (Billy Wilder’s 1941 comedy Ball of Fire is the notable exception), but lexicographers are duty-bound to make a careful study of the world of film. The Oxford English Dictionary regularly studies screenplays as part of its research programme, and cites nearly 200 examples from film scripts. During the 20th century, the mass culture of film had a direct impact on the vocabulary of English by spreading localized usages, popularizing neologisms, and inspiring allusions. Film now competes with many other forms of mass media as a shaper of global English, but the shared experience of filmgoers remains a powerful cultural force.

Explore the colourful language of the movies and test your pop cultural knowledge with our new quiz.


Are you a film buff as well as a language maven?
Prove it with the OxfordWords film quiz!

Game Over


To which film do we owe the term bunny-boiler, referring to an obsessively jealous ex-lover?
A Disclosure (1994)
B Fatal Attraction (1987)
C Stalker (1979)
D Vanilla Sky (2001)
Which word entered English courtesy of the 1960 Italian film La Dolce Vita:
A Bada-bing
B Bimbo
C Cappuccino
D Paparazzo
What is the earliest film cited in the OED?
A Birth of a Nation (1915)
B Gaslight (1944)
C The Headless Horseman (1922)
D The Jazz Singer (1927)
Which screenplay provides the first evidence for the phrase to know where the bodies are buried, meaning ‘to have personal knowledge of the secrets or confidential affairs of an organization or individual’?
A Chinatown (1974)
B Citizen Kane (1941)
C Dr. No (1962)
D JFK (1991)
Which synonym for ‘love-struck’ was popularized in the 1942 animated film Bambi?
A Amorevelous
B Assotted
C Potty
D Twitterpated
Which comedy film provides the first evidence of the phrase party on?
A Animal House (1978)
B Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1986)
C Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
D Wayne’s World (1991)
Which of the following 1920s colloquialisms is first attested in a film script?
A Ixnay
B Freebie
C Meanie
D Nerts
The word droid, short for ‘android’, is recorded in a 1952 science fiction story, but was brought into the mainstream thanks to which popular film?
A 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
B Blade Runner (1982)
C Star Wars (1977)
D Total Recall (1990)



The Headless Horseman – By Sleepy Hollow Corporation (The Headless Horseman film) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Citizen Kane – By Newspaper photo (News Service) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Broadway Melody – By Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)/Loew’s (corporate author) (MovieGoods) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The opinions and other information contained in OxfordWords blog posts and comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Oxford University Press.