April Fool’s Day, also called All Fool’s Day, has been celebrated for centuries, but its origins are unknown. Although there are different customs all over the world to mark the day, the central theme is to play jokes or pranks. We’re not usually in the business of fooling our readers, but that doesn’t mean we […]
The 2014 Winter Olympic Games are underway, and we are celebrating this season of sport in the best way we know how: with words. For the duration of the Games, we are featuring terminology from many of this year’s competed sports. Today’s wordlist primer focuses on: Alpine skiing Are you an avid schussboomer? Whether you […]
Curling, for those who don’t know the sport, is one of those curious things that is equally captivating as it is baffling. Although the sport dates back to Medieval Scotland (the first citation for the word curling in the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1638), curling in its current form is a relatively recent phenomenon, […]
Bob Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman, celebrates his 72nd birthday on 24 May 2013. The singer-songwriter, music producer, and writer has been one of the most influential figures in popular music and culture since the release of his first album in 1962. There is no systematic way of analysing Dylan’s song lyrics or poems; they […]
For some, Anna Pavlova is considered one of the greatest ballet dancers in history. For others, her legacy lives on in the form of the dessert she inspired. We celebrate her birthday on 31 January (by the Old Style of dating; her actual birthday according to the Gregorian calendar would be 12 February), and in […]
In 1892 the curtains rose at the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg for the premiere of a new ballet. With a score by Tchaikovsky and choreography by Marius Petipa, the ballet was set to be a hit. After all, the pair had produced The Sleeping Beauty, which was hugely successful, just two years earlier. But […]
Cake, in one form or another, has been around for centuries. From its humble beginnings as a flattened, hardened bread, the concept of ‘cake’ has changed significantly to become an essential part of British culinary identity. Here at Oxford Dictionaries, we love a bit of etymology to go with our cake, and today we share […]
- Affect versus effect
- Grammar myths #2: please miss, can I start a sentence with a conjunction?
- Grammar myths #1: is it wrong to end a sentence with a preposition?
- Lie or lay? Laying down the law on some puzzling verbs
- Compliment or complement?
- OED birthday word generator: which words originated in your birth year?
- Principle or principal?
- Rein or reign? Hold your horses before applying pen to paper…
- The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013 is…
- The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is… vape
- Video: acronyms and initialisms – what’s the difference?
- Feeling bright? 8 historical synonyms for ‘clever’
- Gallery: new quotations in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations
- America’s war on language
- The peculiar history of cows in the OED
- What do you call a group of…
- 20 words that originated in the 1920s
- How do British and American attitudes to dictionaries differ?
- What the Romans did for us: English words of Latin origin
- Why did Tolkien use archaic language?
Want a quick overview of the history of English? Our 2 minute animation shows where English words were borrowed from: oxford.ly/1sDPXSZ
ICYMI: Word of the Day: orthoepy - the correct or accepted pronunciation of words... oxford.ly/1wF8k9A
Peppers, particles, pain, and the weird words that measure them: bit.ly/10ekBi6
Are things a 'shemozzle' while you prepare for the Christmas season? Find out what it means, and its origin... oxford.ly/1xrerQx