Katherine Connor Martin

Katherine Connor Martin

Katherine Connor Martin is Head of Content Creation at Oxford Dictionaries

Articles by Katherine Connor Martin


dictionary examples

How are dictionary examples chosen?

We often receive queries about the example sentences on OxfordDictionaries.com. Some people assume that they are written by the lexicographers who produce the definitions, but in fact they are chosen from real-life examples collected on Oxford’s corpora—vast databases of text drawn from many publications, websites, and other sources. Oxford takes an evidence-based approach to lexicography, […]

All the candidates in the Republican field before a September 2015 debate

The undercard debate: emerging jargon in the 2016 Republican primaries

The vocabulary of American presidential politics is colorful and extensive, full of locutions like veepstakes, Super Tuesday, and purple state. The 2016 election cycle is already introducing new terms to the lexicon, to describe a novel phenomenon that has emerged this year—the doubleheader debate. With more than a dozen major Republican candidates vying to be […]

What is the origin of 'cold war'? George Orwell is part of the answer.

George Orwell and the origin of the term ‘cold war’

On 19 October 1945  George Orwell used the term cold war in his essay ‘You and the Atom Bomb’,  speculating on the repercussions of the atomic age which had begun two months before when the United States bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. In this article, Orwell considered the social and political implications of ‘a […]

The word manspreading was popularized by the MTA, although they they never officially used it.

Manspreading: how New York City’s MTA popularized a word without actually saying it

New York City, home of Oxford Dictionaries’ New York offices, has made numerous contributions to the English lexicon through the years, as disparate as knickerbocker and hip hop. One of Gotham’s most recent impacts was the popularization of manspreading, defined in the latest update of Oxford Dictionaries as ‘the practice whereby a man, especially one […]

twerk

Freegan, yarn bombing, and the surprisingly long history of twerk: new words in the OED

The online Oxford English Dictionary (OED) launched on 14 March 2000, and since the OED generally does not add neologisms until they have had some time to establish themselves, the newest words in the early updates tended to be terms that had emerged in the 1990s. Fourteen years on, that has begun to change, and […]

If you get off from your taxes 'scot free', what are you referring to?

What is the origin of the term ‘scot-free’?

To ‘get off scot-free’ means ‘to get away with something without being punished’. Since the familiar English word Scot refers to a native or inhabitant of Scotland, it is tempting to assume that this is a reference to that country. Indeed, that association seems to have existed since at least the 1500s, when the alternative […]

Quadrocopter drone flying in the sky

Conscious uncoupling, smugshrug, and parcelcopter: blips on our radar in 2014

Yesterday the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year was revealed to be vape, and we also explored the shortlist. Over the course of 2014, Oxford’s lexicographers identified dozens of newly coined or newly prominent words as potential Words of the Year. Last year’s decision of selfie was nearly unanimous, but such a clear choice is […]

What are you preferred political insults?

What are the most common American political insults?

In the run-up to today’s mid-term election, observers of American politics have lamented that the nation’s political landscape is more divided than ever. A Pew Research Center report released this year concluded that “Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines—and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive—than at any point in the last […]

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