When an armed group occupied a federal building in Oregon to protest against the US government’s land management, the media quickly seized on the word ‘militia’ to describe them. The Guardian reported the incident with the headline ‘Oregon militia threatens showdown with US agents at wildlife refuge’; The Washington Post listed the ‘Key things to […]
In a speech made after the November terrorist attacks in Paris, President Obama criticized the media’s use of the word mastermind to describe Abdelhamid Abaaoud. “He’s not a mastermind,” he stated. “He found a few other vicious people, got hands on some fairly conventional weapons, and sadly, it turns out that if you’re willing to […]
Oxford is a very dangerous place to live at the moment. A body has been found in the woods, bludgeoned to death, and decorated with maggots and a dead raven as part of what seems to be a bizarre alchemical ceremony. When another body is found in the river, tied to a wooden stake with […]
People can go a bit funny when I tell them I edit dictionaries for a living. They get nervous and hesitant, as if they’re expecting me to leap on them at any moment, mock their use of grammar, laugh cruelly at their mispronunciations, and pour scorn on their woefully limited vocabulary. But nothing could be […]
The only time I’ve ever been in a betting shop was more than twenty years ago, on National day. Though not a betting man by nature, like much of the British population my dad would have a flutter on the Grand National. He took me with him one year, and I remember the small, close […]
In July 1917, after three years of bloody war, anti-German feeling in Britain was reaching a feverish peak. Xenophobic mutterings about the suitability of having a German on the throne had been heard since 1914. The fact that the Royal family shared part of its name, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, with the Gotha bombers responsible for the devastating […]
Word of the Day: perfin - a postage stamp perforated with company initials...... ow.ly/trga501Z8Gh
A noun and a verb sit at a bar. Verb: ‘Hey, wanna go back to my place and conjugate?’ Noun: ‘I decline.’ Tweet us your #languagejokes!