Oxford Dictionaries

Articles by Oxford Dictionaries


epidemic

Contagious metaphors: from Typhoid Mary to quarantine

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the final quarantine of Mary Mallon, better known as ‘Typhoid Mary’, who was the first recognized asymptomatic carrier of typhoid. An Irish-born cook in the New York City metropolitan area, Mallon caused several outbreaks of typhoid in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While several dozen infections […]

Mooses

Why is the plural of ‘moose’ not ‘meese’?

As fitting as it might sound, the plural of moose is not and has never been meese. And while it is tempting to switch out -oo- for -ee-, the plural of moose is simply moose (though you may occasionally see or hear the word mooses). This confusion is understandable if you consider the word goose, […]

succeed betrayal

Kendrick Lamar

WordWatch roundup: negus, insurgent, collywobbles, Plantagenet, and snoop

This series investigates changes in lookups for words and their meanings across OxfordDictionaries.com. The graphs are based on website data collected over a four-week period, and the accompanying commentary explores how news and other current events have influenced these word trends and sudden peaks in interest. insurgent / divergent It will probably come as a […]

blanket

Did Charles Schulz coin the term ‘security blanket’?

Anyone familiar with Charles M. Schulz’s seminal comic strip Peanuts is probably also familiar with Linus Van Pelt and his blue blanket. But even those who have never encountered Linus, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang are probably acquainted with the concept of the ‘security blanket’: a ‘small blanket or other soft fabric […]

symbols

Signs and symbols: the names of punctuation marks

Chances are that you use them every day – from ‘ to # and ? to . – but where did common punctuation marks get their names? Ampersand The ampersand is the sign &, used to mean ‘and’. The shape of the symbol originated as a ligature for the Latin et (‘and’) – that is, […]

breakfast hypothesis

school

7 grammar myths you learned in school

Grammar can be tough. There are a lot of rules to follow, and a lot to wrap your head around. Some of the rules we learn in school, though, aren’t exactly accurate. While some function as helpful guidelines for style and form, other so-called ‘rules’ are inventions, or ‘superstitions,’ as the lexicographer Henry W. Fowler […]

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