Oxford Dictionaries

Articles by Oxford Dictionaries


haggis

WordWatch roundup: catcall, haggis, and other trending words

With major leaps in the number of searches for the definitions of nosegay and haggis, the British television show Gogglebox demonstrates its cultural relevance. The Channel 4 show, which follows several families and groups of friends as they watch television shows at home over the course of a week, brought up both haggis and nosegays in the episode that aired on 31 October. […]

Video: acronyms and initialisms – what’s the difference?

selfie

Selfie – one year on

There can be few people who don’t know that a selfie is a photograph that you take of yourself, typically with your smartphone. The Editors at Oxford Dictionaries started tracking the word back in April 2012, at which time it was noted that there were 36 examples on the newspaper database Nexis ‘mainly in reference to […]

Bow-wow, tyke, and cur: names for dogs

books

Book quiz: how well do you know literary characters?

Quite a lot of literary characters are better known by the title of the book in which they appear. Many people will recognize the name Lady Chatterley’s Lover, not least due to the obscenity trial that ended on 2 November 1960, with Penguin Books found not guilty. Rather fewer will know the name of the lover […]

Halloween Pumpkin

Quiz: how well do you know Mischief Night?

As we all know, Halloween is really more about treats than tricks. The “tricking” half of the holiday has come to be celebrated by practical jokesters on a different date altogether–Mischief Night. Think you’re a master prankster? Take our quiz and find out! Quiz: how well do you know Mischief Night? Game Over Mischief Night […]

pasta

Butterflies and worms: a linguistic look at pasta for World Pasta Day

Did you know that pasta had its own day? No? Well, 25 October 2014 is World Pasta Day. We’ve taken the opportunity to look at a selection of words for different types of pasta. Unsurprisingly, many of the words are simply the Italian for the shape in which the pasta comes, but they may well […]

alphabet

How many pangrams are there in the OED?

A pangram is a sentence containing all 26 letters of the alphabet at least once. The canonical example in English is “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”, which is clearly contrived to be pangrammatic. But pangrams can also occur accidentally. For example, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) contains 66 pangrammatic quotations. Two […]

Tweets