Don't bank on it. . .

Don’t bank on it. . .

With just over a week to go until Christmas, many of us are no doubt looking forward to the holidays and a few days off work. For those working on the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, however, writing the history of the language sometimes took precedence over a Christmas break. Christmas leave in […]

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Jewish holiday traditions: Chanukah

My boyfriend insists that his basketball team can perform miracles. Yes, yes I know what you’re thinking (and, quite frankly, what I’m thinking, too) that when it comes to men and sports, you should just nod and agree to anything said. Over the years I have been in Israel however, I have come to realize […]

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mistletoe

Holiday traditions: what’s so magical about mistletoe?

Mistletoe is special. Every culture that comes across the plant mythologizes it and no wonder. To see mistletoe in England at this time of year, a ball of perfect green life suspended in barren branches, it seems a mysterious, even an other-worldly presence: healthy in the teeth of winter, seemingly without roots or any contact […]

Dewey unbound

Dewey unbound

Melvil Dewey, born to thrifty, parsimonious parents in upstate New York on December 8, 1851, could almost be said to have been destined to devise the classification system used by 200,000 libraries around the world today. He was a man devoted to efficiency, and was an enemy of waste. At sixteen, having taught himself bookkeeping, […]

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John Milton: living at this hour?

John Milton: living at this hour?

The freedom of the press is under threat. At Westminster, politicians are making decisions that could severely curtail the ability of writers and printers to publish what they like, when they like. While parliament has all the power to enact statutory regulation and control of the press, there is at least one man ready to […]

Quaffing and scoffing tool: pairing festive foods with wine

Quaffing and scoffing tool: pairing festive foods with wine

Have you got that festive feeling? An urge to eat, drink, and be merry? Prepare for your seasonal celebrations with our food and wine pairing tool with a difference. Not only can you discover what you should be scoffing to complement your quaffing but you can also learn a fascinating food or wine language fact […]

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Mars: A lexicographer's perspective

Mars: A lexicographer’s perspective

The planet Mars might initially seem an odd choice for Place of the Year. It has hardly any atmosphere and is more or less geologically inactive, meaning that it has remained essentially unchanged for millions of years. 2012 isn’t much different from one million BC as far as Mars is concerned. However, here on Earth, […]

German Christmas traditions: the Krampus

German holiday traditions: the Krampus

I’m sick of Santa. It’s not natural for anyone to be that cherry-cheeked and cheerily cherubic. Frankly, it’s irritating to be flanked by images of a huge, excessively jolly man when you’ve been standing in line for four hours trying to buy presents. So how about an ersatz holiday representative for this year’s Christmastide? How […]

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