‘Bloomsday’ is commemorated throughout the world on June 16, celebrating the day, in 1904, on which the action of James Joyce’s groundbreaking novel Ulysses takes place. The word cloud above showcases just a few of the contributions to the English language made by James Joyce in all of his works, not just Ulysses. From dreck […]
As part of our occasional search monitor series, here’s a clickable word cloud displaying about 350 of your most-viewed words in Oxford Dictionaries Online during May 2011. Literally literally gets the prize for the most popular word, perhaps down to its more informal and sometimes humorous usage. Plagiarism also features, although we hope not only […]
Today’s English owes much to many of the world’s languages, from French and German to Chinese and Hindi. Our interactive map below is the first of an occasional series which will offer you a glimpse of the range of linguistic influences that English has absorbed.
Click on the map to see how English has been shaped by French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Flemish. Your armchair travels should give you some interesting discoveries: could you guess the origins of fluff, anchovy, vamoose, and baize?
According to some, today is ‘Lucky Penny Day’. The OED describes a ‘lucky penny’ as usually one that is bent or perforated, or sometimes an old or foreign coin. In the early nineteenth century, a ‘luck-penny’ was defined as ‘the cash which the seller gives back to the buyer after the latter has paid him; […]
Fabio Capello, the Italian-born England football manager, was recently reported as saying that he could manage his players with just one hundred words of English. At the time there was much speculation as to which hundred words he would need to achieve this, and the BBC contacted Oxford Dictionaries for a list of the 100 […]
The e-commerce site Amazon has a section titled ‘Where’s My Stuff?’ to help customers find out about undelivered orders. The use of such a vague, casual term in a corporate context is an example of the growing acceptance of informality in Internet language, but stuff was not always such a vague or informal term. It dates […]
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Flaunt or flout? Remember: flaunt and display with an ‘a’; flout and ignore with an ‘o’. oxford.ly/wvGxWF
If you have hippophobia, which animal do you have an extreme of irrational dislike of? oxford.ly/1g4HoTL
Word of the Day: orotund - (of a person's voice) resonant and imposing... oxford.ly/PnQ82w