Penny dreadful, noun: With the debut of the second season of the British-American television show Penny Dreadful on 3 May…
As the television show Mad Men draws to a close, we thought it might be fun to reflect on the contributions to language made by the turbulent decade of the 1960s. The legacy of the 1960s on language is not surprising, given the huge shifts in culture, including the Civil Rights movement, the apex of […]
Are you ‘trawling through’ or ‘trolling through’ that online archive? Did you have a successful ‘trawl’ or ‘troll’ of that dictionary? It’s easy to understand why these words are often confused: not only do they sound similar (trOHl and trAWl), but both are loose synonyms for search. Trawl typically means to ‘sift through as part […]
Can you help us? OED Appeals is a dedicated community space on the OED website where OED editors solicit help in unearthing new information about the history and usage of English. Part of the process of revising words and phrases for the OED involves searching for evidence of a word’s first recorded use in English, […]
Punctuation is the art of clarifying how a group of words falls together into contractions, clauses, and sentences. Unfortunately, it is not at all clear how some punctuation marks should be used! Let’s take a look at several popular, though confusing, punctuation marks. Even if you think you’ve got the topic all sewn up, it’s […]
Have you paid attention to April’s Words of the Day? Take the quiz to find out if you can match the words with the correct definitions. Not yet signed up to our free Word of the Day service? Click here to receive your daily word.
The Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus included sections labelled ‘reflections’ by some notable writers, including Zadie Smith, David Foster Wallace, and Joshua Ferris. In the first of an occasional series looking at these reflections, we’ve excerpted Zadie Smith’s thoughts about various words. All the extracts below are by Zadie Smith, and can be found in the […]