Oxford Dictionaries

Articles by Oxford Dictionaries


Add oil is an expression that has gained a lot of currency in Hong Kong in the last few years.

OED appeals: can you help us find earlier evidence of ‘shroff’ and ‘add oil’?

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, […]

books with numbers in the title

Quiz: books with numbers in the title

If you’re a book lover, it’s quite possible that, at some point, people have assumed that you’re into words and not numbers. Well, plenty of people like mathematics and literature — and even if you largely count with your fingers, or use the calculator on your phone more than anything else, then you’ve probably found […]

How many words are there in the English language?

Country name origins

An A-Z of country name origins

We’ve taken on an ambitious task today: we’re looking at the origin stories behind the names (in English) of every single country in the world – using the list of countries as determined by the UN and information from the Oxford Concise Dictionary of World Place-Names. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, discover surprising and intriguing language […]

OED appeals: shiok and sabo

OED appeals: can you help us find earlier evidence of ‘shiok’ and ‘sabo’?

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, […]

13 synonyms for 'unlucky'

13 ways to say ‘unlucky’

Friday 13th has long been considered an unlucky day in the West, at least by some people; this dates back to the Middle Ages. Though it’s often treated whimsically, a word for a phobia of the day has been suggested: paraskevidekatriaphobia, by analogy with the existing word for a phobia of the number 13, triskaidekaphobia. […]

raised hand

An OED editor answers your questions

We recently asked you to provide questions about lexicography and language for a Senior Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) – and you certainly had a lot to ask. We’ve picked some of the best questions, and… here are the answers! in a bit of a dilemma. why was 'dilemma' spelled 'dilemna'? is the […]

Crap hat is a derogatory term for the standard beret worn by regular soldiers in the British Army

OED appeals: can you help us find earlier evidence of ‘crap hat’?

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, […]

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