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OED Word of the Day monkey business

From monkey business to psychedelicatessen: illustrating the OED Word of the Day

If you’ve subscribed to the Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Day, or seen it on Twitter, then you may have wondered what the words would look like. You’re not alone in this: Imogen Foxell, an illustrator and Senior Editor in Oxford Dictionaries, often turns her artistic skills to portraying the OED Word of the […]

Clock gear set

15 words invented by authors

Inventors’ Day is typically celebrated in honour of all the great minds past and present that have come up with a process or thing that helped make our everyday lives easier. But what about those inventors of words that have enriched our lexicon with their language? Let’s take a look at fifteen authors, and the words […]

Man holding a light bulb

Look who’s Tolkien now: inventing languages

What are invented languages? How are they created? Do they have a place in the modern world? Invented languages have been used for hundreds of years, perhaps most famously in books and TV shows such as Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Conlang (a shortened form of constructed language) entered both Oxford Dictionaries and the Oxford English Dictionary […]

Lexicographer Imogen Foxell illustrates the OED Word of the Day

Illustrating the OED Word of the Day

If you’ve subscribed to the Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Day, or seen it on Twitter, then you may have wondered what the words would look like. You’re not alone in this: Imogen Foxell, an illustrator and Senior Editor in Oxford Dictionaries, often turns her artistic skills to portraying the OED Word of the […]

Samba School parade in Sambodromo.

12 essential words for the Brazilian carnival

The carnival in Rio de Janeiro kicks off on 5 February, so the next five days will once again see the Brazilian city playing host to seductive rhythms and scantily clad dancers. For this occasion, we’ve dived into the colourful vocabulary of the Brazilian carnival and came up with a list of words that we […]

Video: what is Shrove Tuesday?

Placeholder names in English and other languages

Just your average Svensson: placeholder names in English and other languages

If you follow politics, you will have noticed that politicians often invoke the cliché of the ‘man in the street’. You may have heard them referring to the average Joe, Joe Bloggs, John Public, Joe Sixpack, etc. when talking to an audience, addressing everyone and no one, rather than someone in particular. The English language […]

A dog is wreaking havoc in the kitchen.

‘Wreak havoc’ or ‘wreck havoc’?

The harsh Southwest sun can wreak havoc on a wood deck. Last summer’s hot, dry weather wrecked havoc on soybean seed production. Do you know which one is correct? English speakers often confuse ‘wreak havoc’ with ‘wreck havoc’. The confusion is more than understandable: both words are nearly homophones (they sound alike) and also are spelled […]

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