Katherine Connor Martin

Katherine Connor Martin

Katherine Connor Martin is Head of Content Creation at Oxford Dictionaries

Articles by Katherine Connor Martin


jeans

Can -core survive normcore?

What do President Obama, Steve Jobs, and the Toyota Camry have in common? In recent weeks all three have been described as “normcore,” a supposed fashion trend in which the sartorial elite eschew their usual sui generis styles for dowdy clothing of the type ordinary people wear. The concept may have originated as satire, but […]

Great white shark

Word of the Year 2013: blips on our radar

As OUP’s lexicographers go about our quiet work, occasionally a novel word, spied in a newspaper, a post, or a tweet, catches our fancy. “Possible WOTY?!!!” we might email to a colleague, anticipating the year’s end. When we go back through those old emails months later, it is sometimes difficult to remember what inspired such […]

Bros

The history of ‘bro’

So how exactly did an abbreviation of brother became a word-forming dynamo? For most of its existence in English, the word bro led a quiet and unassuming life. For centuries, it was merely a graphic abbreviation of brother (properly bro.), occasionally put to colloquial use, like sis, to refer to a person’s male sibling. It wasn’t […]

twerk origin

What is the origin of ‘twerk’?

When the word twerk burst into the global vocabulary of English a few years ago with reference to a dance involving thrusting movements of the bottom and hips, most accounts of its origin pointed in the same direction, to the New Orleans ‘bounce’ music scene of the 1990s, and in particular to a 1993 recording […]

Zonkey

Zebra crossings: what zonkeys tell us about our love of hybrid words

Have you heard of the zonkey? It sounds like we made it up, but it’s actually a widely-recognized word. Zonkey, it turns out, is only one of several words for the semi-striped offspring of zebras and other equine mammals. For whatever reason, these creatures have inspired generations of would-be wordsmiths to name them—and rename them. Interbreeding […]

How old are the words bride and groom? Learn several interesting facts about wedding words.

6 facts about wedding words

The language of weddings has, unsurprisingly, been around for a long time. Let’s have a look at several interesting facts about wedding words. 1. Brides weren’t always female While the oldest recorded sense of bride is the familiar one referring to a woman, there is some evidence of the word being used in a gender-neutral […]

baby laundry

Labouring language: the changing vocabulary of childbirth

Expectant parents don’t generally have a lot of spare time for idly perusing the dictionary, but if they did, they would find that the vocabulary of the event they joyfully anticipate has undergone significant changes over the centuries. Consider, for instance, the verb to deliver. In contemporary use, the mother is often the subject of […]

George Washington

Unpresidential presidential quotations in the OED

The Oxford English Dictionary is founded upon millions of quotations, which trace the history of each word starting with its earliest recorded use. America’s presidents are well represented among the authors of those quotations; after all, they are influential speakers and writers whose words are painstakingly recorded and preserved. Presidential quotations often turn up in […]

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