Christmas bauble_blog

Trolling yuletide carols: weird words in five famous Christmas songs

Whether you go a’wassailing, participate in a church choir, or simply like to sing along with a radio tuned to a festive station, at some point you may have found yourself in the middle of a Christmas carol, struck with the thought: what does that word even mean? Or even what am I actually singing?! […]

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The language of Strictly Come Dancing

The language of Strictly Come Dancing

If, like me, you spend your Saturday evenings with a bottle of red, agonizing over Sophie’s samba or Fiona’s foxtrot on Strictly Come Dancing, or wait impatiently for it when it’s not on, then… you should find the nearest mirror and take a long, hard look at yourself. You also sound like you would be […]

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Do you know your OED birthday word?

OED birthday word generator: which words originated in your birth year?

Do you know which words entered the English language around the same time you entered the world? Use our OED birthday word generator to find out! We’ve scoured the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) to find words with a first known usage for each year from 1900 to 2004. Simply select the relevant decade and click […]

Discover your OED birthday word »
movie reel

Origin stories: fictional titles and their lasting impressions

How I stopped worrying and learned to love the language To avoid appearing like simple-minded vessels of superficial consumption, we often try not to let on the extent to which media has come to inform our lives. From the time we are young, we’re encouraged to value real-life experiences over the simulated kind found in […]

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Accept or except? Do you ever confuse them?

Accept or except?

 ? The British really are mad as hatters – present company accepted of course. Do you accept that the above sentence is good English (please disregard the sentiments expressed therein!)? How about these two examples – would you take exception to them? ? She excepts everyone for what they are and I think this is […]

stunt Mercedes

I’ll teach you how to “stunt”

In 2003, 50 Cent and his fellow G-Unit rappers released a song called “Stunt 101”, in which they claim to “teach you how to stunt”. I’ve been listening to this song for years without a second thought, but now it occurs to me that this verb stunt is completely baffling–what on earth does it mean!? […]

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catching fire

8 words you need to know to survive The Hunger Games

Whether your arena is a jungle, a desert, or a ticking time bomb, here are eight Hunger Games words you need to know in order to survive. Don’t forget, knowing these definitions could save your life, and may the odds be ever in your favour! 1) Reaping It all starts here, so look sharp! The reaping is […]

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Thanksgiving dinner

From 1621 to 1863: giving thanks for new words of old

America’s “First Thanksgiving” is often attributed to the early 17th century (1621, in fact) when a small band of Pilgrims gathered with a small band of American Indians to partake together of a bountiful harvest at Plymouth Plantation. This celebration lasted a whopping three days—and it wasn’t called “Thanksgiving”. Only in 1863 was the annual […]

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